I had in August 2009 posted an article concerning the intended purchase of the Army War Game Simulation System (AWGSS) for the Army War Game Training Center being built at Gemas Camp that drew lots of flak from readers. This purchase has been mooted since the 80’s, but till today army has yet to have a system. Even getting an army officer to develop a computerized war game system jointly with USM in 1988, and subsequently with UTM was to end in failure.
I was informed that in 2005, Army decided to purchase the AWGSS outright from a reliable OEM through an open tender bidding. A tender bid was called in 2006, and a local company i.e. Softlab Technology Sdn Bhd won the bidding and the company was later issued with an LOI. Soon after the issuance of the LOI, Army decided not to proceed with the purchase due to reports of alleged abuse and corruption in the award of tender. I am told that a case has been filed and pending in the courts against some officials involved in this particular tender exercise for alleged abuse and corruption.
Early this year, a retender exercise was called and the closing date for tender submission was April 19th 2010. From the tender bidding list displayed at Mindef’s Procurement Division on 28th May 2010, there were a total of 12 bidders, and the bidding price ranges from RM73 million to RM35 million; the former being the highest bidding price and the latter being the lowest.
Now, there is already a talk in the market that this latest tender exercise is riddled with suspicion, because the officer heading the tender evaluation is an alleged crony with links to the previous army leadership. If this allegation is true, then they say that the winning bidder will most likely be the same company that had won the bid in 2006. Allegation like this does not auger well for the new army leadership and as such, it should not be taken too lightly, if army is indeed serious in wanting to eradicate abuse and corruption. Previous records of army purchases are said to be mired in alleged abuses of cronyism, favoritism and corruption, and this has angered many local businessman.
As I have suggested in some previous postings, in order for the new army leadership to rid itself of the stigma of abuses and corruption said to have been caused by the previous leadership, then drastic changes has to be made to replace those officers that are known to be cronies that are still lingering in the corridors of power at Army Headquarters. These officers are known to many, but many are just too afraid to spill the beans for fear of retaliation against their career.
I trust the new army leadership is one that is determined to shake off the bad legacies and poor perception left behind by the previous leadership. Integrity among some officers is badly tarnished and this has to be rectified. I am also pleased to hear that the new Army Chief has given specific instructions to his commanders and staffs recently on some restrictions with regards to the game of golf, among others, one that disallows officers to be accompanied by businessman in their casual round of golf.
There are certainly many ways to curb abuse and corruption in the army. Maybe it time that army device a system of check and balance in its tender processes, and including some form of due diligence be conducted on officers selected to be members of the Tender Board, as well as the Tender Evaluation Team to ensure that they are officers of the highest integrity. Surely, such officers are not too difficult to find.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION