Negotiated tender system one of the main causes of corruption, abuses of power and waste of public funds

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said yesterday that he would propose that all contracts for government projects be awarded through the open or competitive tender system in line with the Cabinet’s decision to reduce government expenditure.

He said that to ensure that the best price was obtained, he would propose to the Cabinet to do away with the negotiated tender system whereby only contractors approved and registered with the Treasury were selected to negotiate on the tender price of government projects.

He said he believed that the award ofr contracts through the open or competitive tender system could save the Government millions of ringgit as the Ministry could award contracts to those who offered to undertake the projects at lower tender prices.

It is good to hear a Cabinet Minister finally coming around to support what the DAP had been proposing inside and outside Parliament all these years.

It must be recognised that negotiated tender system is one of the main causes of corruption, abuse of power and waste of public funds, including unreasonable and exorbitant tolls, levies or charges which had to be paid by the public user for privatised services.

I have no doubt that if there is a comprehensive study about the abuses and evils of an negotiated tender system, it would be found that the country had lost an astronomical sum of money whether as a result of corruption or avoidable financial burden, either at the expense of the government or the taxpayers, which could have been better used to improve the quality of life of ordinary Malaysians. The abolition of the negotiated tender system and the institution of an open or competitive tender system – except in cases of extreme urgency because of disasters or where national security is at risk – would be a major step in the right direction towards establishing a national integtrity system in the award of government contracts and procurements.

Undoubtedly, there is also room for corruption, abuse of power and waste of public funds in open and competitive tender systems, but if there is a will to institute a system of national integrity in the government service, there could be adequate safeguards to minimise such abuses.

The question is whether the proposal by Samy Vellu would ever be accepted and implemented by the Cabinet. In next monh’s Parliament, DAP MPs will press for a revamp of the entire government process, whether in terms of award of tenders or administrative guidelines, so that Malaysia can build a national integrity system to promote a new culture of integrity in politics and public service with zero tolerance for corruption.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong