‘Only bumi companies for govt projects’

(The Malay Mail) – Bumiputra companies must be the only choice for government projects irrespective of whether they can deliver.

This is the stand of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (MCCM). Its president, Syed Ali Alatas, said projects such as the RM3 billion Pudu Prison redevelopment must be given to a bumiputra company regardless of whether there are better parties – local or foreign – which can see the project through with the best returns to taxpayers.

“The issue is not whether the contract should be given to a bumiputra or a non-bumiputra company,” he told The Malay Mail.

“The bumiputra companies should be given such projects but we never get this kind of deals.

“Such projects should be given to us. Period,” he said before ending the call abruptly.

He was responding to UDA chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohammed’s statement earlier this month that the Finance Ministry had mandated UDA to focus solely on bumiputra investors even if it means taxpayers do not get the best deal from development projects.

The Finance Ministry had ordered UDA to drop China-based Everbright Ltd in favour of a bumiputra company – resulting in Nur Jazlan warning that hiring a bumiputra company would eventually result in a bail-out as these companies lack the funds and skills to take on such a huge project on its own.

Everbright which boasts RM4 billion in reserves, had had offered RM2.9 billion in building costs with projected annual returns of at least RM300 million to RM400 million.

Opposition party leaders however said the best company, be it a local or a foreign company must be chosen to reconstruct the site of the 116-year-old prison.

They also want selection process made transparent and approve contractors based on merit.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali told The Malay Mail that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should “walk the talk”.

“The PM talks about being transparent and he should practise it. If he wants to see progress then he should make the tender open for everybody not just select contractors based on cronyism or nepotism.

“The contractor who will eventually be selected must have an excellent track record as the area they will be redeveloping is prime land in the capital.

“The project also must result in profits return and value for money,” said the Gombak MP.

PAS vice-president and Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub said the contractor does not have to be specifically a bumiputra or a local company.

“It can be anybody but what’s more important is that the project is completed properly and the contractor meets the set requirements. The new complex must be have have the it safety features, quality control and it’s facilities intact. This is a must if they want to win the rakyat’s trust,” he said.