Friday, August 3, 2012

‘Declassify George Kent tender documents’ | Free Malaysia Today

Declassify George Kent tender documents’

Teoh El Sen | August 3, 2012
DAP's Tony Pua said this was the best way for the government to banish accusations of cronyism and favouritism.

PETALING JAYA: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd must immediately declassify all tender documents and minutes of evalution meetings to prove that the George Kent-Lion Pacific consortium is the most worthy bidder for the Ampang LRT Extension, both technically and financially.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said this today in a press statement, stressing that it was “the best way for the government to banish all accusations of cronyism and favouritism”.
He said all documents related to the award of the project must be revealed such as the tender documents and submissions made for the project, evaluation papers conducted by Prasarana and its panel of consultants as well as the minutes of meetings on decisions made by the Finance Ministry on the matter.

Pua challenged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also Finance Minister, “to convince us with physical proof that the manufacturer of water pipes and meters, George Kent, is indeed the best choice to build the LRT system over other companies with complete track record in rail projects, despite the former being priced significantly higher than the latter.”

In the lastest exposé, Pua said various government documents showed that the George Kent consortium was “far from the best bidder in terms of technical expertise and compliance, as well as in terms of price”.
“… the onus is on the government to prove that that there was absolutely no abuse of power, and the controversial award to the George Kent consortium is entirely above board.”

He added that such declassification of documents is completely in line with the prime minister’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) led by Pemandu, which called for full transparency and accountability in government procurement processes.

“In fact, it will be the only way to improve the outcome of the study [GTP Roadmap] conducted by Pemandu where 71% of corporates claim “no transparency and openness” in the award of government contracts,” he said.

Complete surprise
Pua said he was surprised by the company’s attempts at defending itself despite heavy criticism of the RM1.18 billion award of the Ampang LRT extension project to the George Kent-Lion Pacific consortium, and the revelations by PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli that the consortium had failed the technical evaluation conducted by Halcrow Consultants.

“In fact, in the leaked report by Halcrow, it was noted that the consortium was allowed to proceed to the next stage upon ‘instruction’ from Prasarana.

“Hence it comes as a complete surprise, and more than a little amusing that George Kent was the party to deliver the public statement to ‘strongly refute the baseless allegations that GKLP-JV failed the full technical and commercial evaluations.’”

George Kent, said Pua, had stressed that it had a good track record in the construction industry and has delivered in many other “complex” projects, such as the construction and design of the new Kuala Lipis Hospital valued at RM100 million.

“No one is questioning the ability of George Kent to deliver a RM100-million hospital.

“Neither is anyone questioning the competence of the company to manufacture and supply ‘control instrumentation, telemetry, pipes, valves and fittings, industrial and domestic water meters, boilers’, as well as ‘fibre glass reinforced polyester (FRP) panel tanks for bulk water storage’. In fact, the George Kent consortium may even be able to successfully deliver the Ampang LRT project.”

Pua stressed that the crux of the issue is whether George Kent was the best consortium in terms of technical expertise and experience in rail projects, with the best price to deliver the LRT project for Prasarana, among the various parties which had bid for the project.

“The only party which can answer this question is Prasarana, as well as the Finance Ministry.”

No locus standi

Pua said no one from George Kent has the locus standi to tell Malaysians that they are the best company with the lowest price to deliver the project.

Yesterday, PKR demanded for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the alleged abuse of power in the award of the LRT extension contract.

On Tuesday, Prasarana, the project and asset owner for the LRT Line Extension Project (LEP), confirmed in a statement that the contract had been given to a George Kent-Lion Pacific joint venture.

The project’s value was not stated but the firm disclosed that it would be below the RM7 billion ceiling.
Through a series of exposé, Rafizi had shown leaked official documents indicating possible power abuse in the contract award process when the Ministry of Finance (MOF) had overruled earlier recommendation from Prasarana to award the contract to British engineering firm, Balfour Beatty-Invensys Consortium.

The MoF Acquisition Committee, headed by Najib, had subsequently instructed the contract to be given to George Kent, which bid far higher than what was offered by Balfour Beatty-Invensys.

The consortium, with no qualified experience for the project, with its core expertise being only in water infrastructure projects, had also failed the contract’s technical and commercial evaluation.

The alleged interference by Najib in the project could also mean the prime minister can easily influence the award of contract for other mega government projects and tamper with government institutions, said Rafizi.

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