Monday, August 06, 2012

George Kent LRT Award: Prasarana Must Disclose All

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

Pakatan Rakyat leaders and the Malaysian public have heavily criticised the award of the RM1.18 billion Ampang LRT extension project to the George Kent-Lion Pacific consortium, despite the multiple revelations by PKR Strategy Director Rafizi Ramli on the fact that the George Kent 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”.

The statement had to add that George Kent has good track record in the construction industry and has delivered in many other "complex" projects. It said “we have successfully delivered large projects on time and on budget, 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 question 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, whether the George Kent consortium may even be able to successfully deliver the Ampang LRT project.

The issue is, was George Kent 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 who bid for the project.

The only party who can answer this question is Prasarana, as well as the Ministry of Finance Committee headed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself.  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.

In fact, given the exposés to date which made available various government documents which 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.

The best way for the Government to banish all accusations of cronyism and favouritism is by declassifying all related documents to the award of the project – from tender documents and submissions made for the project, to evaluation papers conducted by Prasarana and its panel of consultants as well as the minutes of meetings on decisions made by the Ministry of Finance in relation to the award of the project.

Such declassification of documents is completely in line with the Prime Minister’s Government Transformation programme 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 conducted by PEMANDU where 71% of corporates claim “no transparency and openness” in the award of government contracts. (GTP Roadmap 2010 pg 134)

We hereby challenge Datuk Seri Najib Razak 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.

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