Thursday, June 3, 2010


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.



abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Dato' Arshad,
In any tender exercise it is an open secret that bidders can come together and work out the ways and means of getting around the system, even though on the surface they are competitors. Sometimes the same individuals are the people behind a string of tenderers with different names. Thus no matter how the check and balance is well in place, the manipulators can always outwit the system.

As you had always posted before, the Defence Ministry tenders are known to be riddled with irregularities and hanky panky. This unethical practice seemed to be in the know by those involved in the business but many preferred to keep it to themselves for obvious reasons. As long this continues, we can say farewell to transparency and accountability. Thus the vicious cycle could not be broken and status quo remained forever.
If everyone in the business cooperate to buck the trend and the top management of the Ministry and the Treasury go all out to weed out the officers who have been entrenched in their places far too long and breached the trust, all effort to eradicate the scourge would end in failure.

Mej. A R Ramachandran (Retired) said...

Dear Dato,
I am quite annoyed that everybody wants to be a watchdog's watchdog. If this is the case all tenders will stop dead in their tracks, due to one reason or another. To me the tenderer should simply ensure that the GSR is done professionally. I emphasise that "THERE MUST BE NO HANKY PANKY IN THIS". To put a good technical team together, led by competent officers should not be a problem for I know that there are many of them around. Once this activity is done correctly and 'WITHOUT INTERFERENCE FROM ABOVE', I am sure more than 60% of the job is done. This rests the arguement of what the end user wants. Then it is case of evaluating the costs,the quality of equipment,credibility of supplier etc.I cannot see how contracts can be sealed with disregard to the GSR or manupilation of the same.People get around the system (if I can assume that this is done)simply because they are allowed to do so. I am not interested by whom or the modus operandi, I am simply saying that if due respect is given to the defined process, then all should be well. As the old adage goes "If you ask for flowers, you get flowers;If you ask for s@#t, you get s@#t".


Dear Dato,

In many occasions, acquisition of the armed forces equipment and weapons are most controversial. Either be its delivery not according GSR or of very much over-priced through crooked or loop-sided negotiation or tenders, the end of the day the soldiers will pick up the pieces. Whoever did those were really low-down snakes, not worth to be called defense contractors. As far as our war simulation system, there are many sold even in open markets. It's nothing new or that sophisticated unless we design it ourselves. We have enough army experts in training establishment and many good computer programmers in the high institution. Form them in a group, give them grant, provide them with facility, by two years we will see some results. It's worth then buying it over-counter with shady under-counter dealings.

Capt's Longhouse said...


,,,all these simulation exercises could end up as a waste of public funding. System gets out dated pretty fast nowadays too. Its just an expensive toy at the end of the day !.
,,,Nothing like hard training in the jungle area, in the air plus sea.
,,,indeed there are pro. and con. but if we are short of money as it stand, lets not further waste it.
,,,i have been involved with aircraft or rather helicopter simulator training protocol, yes there are some benefits but nothing beats training in the real chopper. The risks of crashing the real chopper would make an experienced aircrew after the training or check ride. I always prefer the real stuff than simulation exercises. It tests both human and machine at the same time i.e. for win/win.