SAPP: Adhere to open tender policy
20 March, 2009: Former State Assistant Finance Minister,
Melanie Chia urged the State government to strictly adhere to the Federal
Government decision to have all government procurements and projects worth
RM500,000 and above be made through open tenders or restricted tenders.
This would also enhance efficiency and increase competitiveness especially
in this current economic environment.
She especially called on the Chief Ministerr, Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman to
instruct all State Government departments, agencies including the
Government-linked companies (GLCs) to make public the full list of
contractors, suppliers, timber concessions and other natural resources
extraction licenses, which were awarded without any open tender for the
past few years.
"They must also disclose contract details including prices for public
scrutiny, to demonstrate good governance and accountability, as what was
practiced in many countries. This would considerably help to eliminate
speculations, skepticisms and distrust that the general public and the
commercial sectors might have over the Government's handling and spending
of the public funds," she stressed.
Melanie who is also the Luyang State Assemblywoman and the Women Chief of
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) urged this in a statement issued here
She was responding to the recent announcement made by the Deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on 10 March, 2009 that, in order to
enhance elements of competition and strengthen the value-for-money concept
in Government procurements, all Government procurements will be made
through open tenders or restricted tenders except for special cases.
Najib also said, to manage costs, the implementation of design-and-build
projects would not be allowed except in cases requiring high technical
Melanie thus expressed regret that there were hardly any open tender for
state projects and procurements in Sabah in recent years; projects were
awarded in direct negotiations, which lack transparency and clearly not in
line with the spirit and principle of value-for-money.
She cited that the construction sector is where the major grievances came
from, where there are around 250 Class A construction companies, with
approximately few thousands registered as Class B, C,
D, E & F contractors.
"The common complaints are that, most projects were monopolized by a
handful of companies. Others have not even a chance to participate in the
tender of these state-funded projects," she pointed out, adding that many
have expressed strong objection of such an unfair and non-transparent
She claimed that common public perception and speculation of bureaucracy
and cronyism in State Government dealings all these while had inevitably
caused some serious damages to the credibility and accountability of the
She then reiterated that being a responsible opposition party, SAPP would
support any government proposal that is beneficial to the people, such as
the recent announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister to adopt the open
tender system in awarding of government-funded projects and making any
procurement involving public funds.
"Let put aside our skepticism on whether the Government will really walk
its talk this time in implementing such a long-overdue-yet-noble policy,
and give our full support to our State government in its implementation,"
Nonetheless, she took a swipe at the Chief Minister and his colleagues in
the State for their conspicuous silent over the said announcement which,
she considered as unusual quipping that normally they would be prompt, if
not instantaneously, to respond and echo all the policies announced by the
Federal leaders, in particular the Prime Minister and his deputy.
"But, in this particular case, one week after the announcement was made by
the Deputy Prime Minister and in-coming Prime Minister, we have yet to see
or hear the Chief Minister or any of his Cabinet Ministers come out to
pledge their support to such an announcement," she noted.
She cautioned that such a conspicuous silence towards such a
crucial-and-beneficial policy would only cause further doubt among the
general public over the credibility and integrity of the State government
and its leaderships.