Gahmen thinks can bullshit people with ‘Direct Tender’ ah?

Kee Thuan Chye

So stupid! Think can bluff the people ah? The other day I read the Gahmen said it gave a contract to Konsortium Prohawk Sdn Bhd to build and maintain the Kuala Lumpur Women and Children’s Hospital. The contract is worth more than RM1.6 billion. Wah! Big big bucks, man! And it was given through direct tender.

“Direct tender”? Never heard of it wor. So I tried Google. The phrase actually got, but I found only a few entries saying “direct tender” is about gahmen calling companies to bid for projects. I did see one about Zambia:

According to sources at the ministry and Zambian firms that wanted to participate in the business, senior government officials allegedly received hefty bribes before awarding the direct tender to ZTE.

Hahaha! So ngam hor the connection between “direct tender” and corruption?

The more I Googled the more I got fed-up. And confused. It seems “direct tender” is used more for buying or selling. Anyway, not many people in Malaysia have heard of it before. To them, tender means call for companies to bid for a project. Open tender means anyone can take part. That’s the best. Transparent. Big gahmen projects should be by open tender.

But also got closed tender. That one only selected companies get invited to submit their bids. If Malaysian Gahmen calls for it usually means cronies get invited to submit. But at least still got competition. So it’s more fair. That’s what tender is supposed to do. Don’t believe me, you can look upInvestopedia:

Tender usually refers to the process whereby governments and financial institutions invite bids for large projects that must be submitted within a finite deadline. … For projects or procurement, most institutions have a well-defined tender process, as well as processes to govern the opening, evaluation and final selection of the vendors. This ensures that the selection process is fair and transparent.

I also like this definition of “tender” by Cambridge Dictionaries Online:

A method of choosing the best company to supply goods or do a job by asking several companies to make offers for the work.

I like it because it says “the best company”. It’s important to choose the best so that the job is properly done. Not like the people who built the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Terengganu and the roof fell down.

But anyway you can see tender is usually involving more than one company. So “direct tender” like our gahmen uses it sounds funny. It sounds like just a nice way of saying “direct negotiation”, which is giving the project directly to the company of the Gahmen’s choice. But because our gahmen alreadykena whacked many times before for giving out mega-projects in that way, it wants to use different words. And maybe it can also bullshit some people into thinking got actual competition although there is none. As usual, trying to confuse. The actual phrase of course is “negotiated contract” lah.

So, if it’s negotiated contract, call it that lah! Berani buat, berani tanggung lah! (Dare to do, dare to take responsibility) Same what. Whatever name you give the flower Rafflesia, it still stinks!

The RM1.6 billion deal also stinks. So much money and one company is given the job directly? Some more ah the contract includes maintaining the hospital for 25 years. So long? What if they don’t measure up after a while? Wah lan eh! Don’t play play, 25 years is a damn good deal. The company will be getting RM75 million a year for maintaining. Like that ah makan pun tak boleh habis (eat also cannot finish). Who doesn’t want to get that kind of business?

The deputy health minister Hilmi Yahya tried to wash the blame from his ministry. He said for building hospitals, it doesn’t have a say in drawing up the contracts. So what? He’s with the same gahmen, isn’t it? He should tell lah who is responsible. And let the people responsible come and answer for it. Cannot just buat tak tahu (make like don’t know) or sweep under the sarong.

Look what that has got us. Must be transparent one. When our gahmen wants to buy things also, if what it wants to buy is going to cost a lot of money, it should also call for tenders. Open tenders, if you don’t mind! But if we see the shit the Auditor-General has exposed year after year, many gahmen departments don’t follow proper procedure one. They simply go and buy. From people they know. Their cronies lah.

Sometimes they tell the seller to hike up the price and bill it to the department. It can be many times the market price. Fuyoh! You don’t think corruption hor? It’s happening all the time! There, the Auditor-General report for 2012 found one gahmen department buying A4 size scanners for RM14,670 each when they should cost only about RM200. That’s 70 times the normal price, you know! Aiyoyo! Where did the rest of the money go?

Now the AG Ambrin Buang – I salute him laa – got new stories to tell. The Paya Peda dam in Besut, Terengganu. The project also given by – hah! – “direct tender”. See lah, the project started in June 2010, supposed to finish in November 2013, but now still not done. The AG said the delay is because the contractor got no experience and knowledge to build a large-scale project. Then how the contractor got the job? This is building a dam, you know!

The Gahmen has now given the contractor until June to finish it. That’s only two months more. How? Already, the AG said the contractor’s workmanship is not up to standard. Some more never follow EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) recommendations. If the contractor simply rushes the job to finish by June, who can say what can happen in the future? I dare not imagine the dam collapsing, man! Horrors!

How can the Gahmen be so morally wrong and give the job to people who cannot do it well? That’s the trouble with “direct tender” lah! They don’t care one. As long as a few people benefit from it. You know who lah.

Some more ah the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry that is overseeing the project overpaid a consultant land surveyor company by more than RM500,000. How do you overpay by half a million bucks? Who is benefitting from it who shouldn’t?

And here’s the bottom line. JAKS Resources Berhad and Pembinaan Sujaman Sdn Bhd were supposed to build the dam for originally RM333 million. Now it’s shot up to RM348 million. Only RM15 million more, is it? Sahp sahp soei, is it?

Ei, we buggers have to pay the bill, you know. Don’t play laa with our money. Times are hard now laa. You people in Gahmen better stop all the bullshit and all the hanky-panky. Find out who overpaid the consultant and throw the kitchen sink at them. Give projects to people who can deliver.

And please stop using “direct tender”, okay?

Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the book The Elections Bullshit, now available in bookstores.