Despite the issue being raised in parliament; despite resenting comments in the internet, the Defence Ministry is still proceeding to renegotiate the award of the submarine rescue services to a favoured company whose core business is infrastructure works, building and quarry activities.
From reliable sources, the company is believed to be Target Resources Sdn Bhd, and is reportedly owned by a Dato from Pahang. Upon further checking, the same company is believed to have been awarded several projets by the Defence Ministry that runs into millions, through direct negotiations. If one does not see this as being a blatant and hideous act of cronyism by the ministry's top official, what other better words can be used to described the aforesaid act.
Now, Target Resources Sdn Bhd is again being invited to renegotiate and propose to the Defence Ministry a new pricing from an initial quoted figure of RM 98.4 million per year for a period of 20 years. What a profitable deal this will be for the construction company, where even the blind, mute and deaf can become instant millionaire, if the deal were to go through, unnoticed to the concerned public and tax payers.
The company is said to have made a new proposal of RM 60 million per year to the Defence Ministry. For those in the submarine rescue service industry, they claim that this figure is still unrealistic, and has been inflated by almost 100%. A realistic figure would be RM 30 million per year or thereabout, and there is already a reasonable commission factored into the figure. How did Target Resources Sdn Bhd derive a figure of RM 98.4 million initially, and then later proposing a figure of RM 60 million demands full public explanation from both the ministry and the company.
Public perception of the Defence Ministry has never been good with regards to the award of contracts. Public resentment is cleverly being subdued from public knowledge. The powers-that-be has ignored totally the practice of transparency, fairness and honesty in the award of contracts, and by so doing, they have betrayed the trust that is beholden upon them as loyal, faithful and honest public servants. Whims and fancies rules the day, and the talk around the ministry is that 'the higher the cost, the better it is'.
To put this highly controversial deal in its correct perspective, it is incumbent upon the ministry's Secretary General to explain the rational of insisting that Target Resources Sdn Bhd be awarded the contract by direct negotiation, as well as to explain the basis of reasonable pricing to be accepted by the ministry. An explanation given by the Deputy Defence Minister or the Minister himself isn't enough.
To deliberately ignore competitive bidding, the Defence Ministry and in particular the Royal Malaysia Navy, will not be able to get the desired scope of services at the best price. And certainly, RM 60 million per year is certainly not the figure worth accepting at all.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 8.00 am on Mar 8, 2009