10 Jan 2011

MACC raids KTMB offices over 'dodgy deal'

EXCLUSIVE The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission raided the offices of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) recently after an allegedly 'dodgy' tender exercise saw a multi-million ringgit contract being awarded to an 'underqualified' company.

The project, valued at close to RM100 million, is for a revamp of the ticketing system in all 56 KTM Komuter stations around the Klang Valley and in Negri Sembilan.

A local company won the award with a RM85 million bid, even though there were lower bids by companies with more experience in servicing the KTMB systems.
Malaysiakini has since learnt that the technical evaluation processes were rigged to accommodate the capabilities of the selected company.

“Even if they were not qualified in a particular section, they still got full marks for it,” claimed a source familiar with the project.

The MACC investigation team moved into the KTMB office in Kuala Lumpur and raided the tender department on Dec 14 last year. It confiscated key documents, understood to include the technical scoresheets.

MACC raided the KTMB offices again last Friday to collect more evidence.

According to a MACC insider, the investigations are still at the preliminary stage.

The tender notice was published and announced on Aug 3 last year and submissions were closed on Sept 29.

It is learnt that the KTMB technical team did not conduct any site visit or request for demonstrations by the tenderer, as is required.
There was no evaluation of the tenders of the five companies that were shortlisted.

The two companies with existing projects involving the ticketing systems were rejected, although they had put in bids of RM69.8 million and RM72.6 million respectively.

It is understood that the tender was awarded based on the policy of the 15 percent bracket of the estimated budget of the project.

A RM100 million project would mean that the bracket would only enable companies with bids of 15 percent above or below the budget being awarded the contract.

This automatically disqualified the previous two companies who offered lower bids even though they have more experience in the field.

Policy not mandatory

It is understood, however, that it is not mandatory to comply with the policy.
When met recently, former transport minister Ong Tee Keat  said he had not heard of the policy during his tenure.

The project was mooted while he was minister, but only took off when his successor Kong Cho Ha took over.

On Dec 21, the project was awarded to Hopetech Sdn Bhd, with the letter of award signed by ministry secretary-general Long See Wool.

It is understood that the secretary-general heads the tender board in each ministry. Their signature on the letter of award is a standard practice in government contracts.

The revamp will also be funded by the National Key Result Area lab on urban public transport.

Already plagued by bad debts and mismanagement, KTMB had racked up RM1.45 billion in debt up to 2008 with hardly any means of paying for it.

According to the 2009 Auditor-General's report, KTMB has suffered net losses for three years in a row from 2006.

From 1994-2008, KTMB needed a RM760 million funding injection from the federal government just to sustain its operations.

Source : http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/152942

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