Didn’t I tell you that Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen has all the justification and reason for the excessive spending and other financial woes of her ministry, as published in the Auditor General‘s report revealed recently? She claimed that by going for the Direct Negotiation, the ministry had saved millions of ringgit, and this is quite the contrary to the AG’s report.
All along, it was argued that Direct Negotiation for the award of tenders has been the subject of abuse; hence the government preferred the Open Tender where it was normal that the lowest bidder usually wins the tender. If the Open Tender system is the preferred policy for tender bidding by the ministries/departments, then who is Yen Yen to set her own rule and to ignore a government ruling? You see, if a minister herself cannot even abide by its own government ruling, how then would you expect others in the ministry to abide by such a ruling?
Yen Yen is reported to have said that she has had the approval of the Finance Ministry to proceed with the Direct Negotiation, which I am not easily convinced. Having known the workings of the Finance Ministry, it is not as easy as one thinks, to convince the ministry to renege on a policy or ruling that the ministry itself has formulated. The effect of this is that if a particular ministry is allowed to breach or is allowed the option to elect a policy, then other ministries can also do the same. If this be the case, then the Finance Ministry might as well not have such a policy, or any other policies. Let it be a ‘free for all’ or ‘do as you wish’ policy.
In any tender exercise, cost, performance, experience and ability of the bidder are some of the most important criteria in deciding the winning bidder. It is argued that a winning bidder can best be determined only through the Open Tender system. Of course the Open Tender system too can have its flaws when the Tender Board Members are themselves a dishonest and corrupt lot.
In the case of Direct Negotiation, it can just be decided by a stroke of a pen where awarding the tender sometimes does not even require the bidder to meet all the criteria required of a bidder. This is where tenders can easily be awarded to friends, family members and cronies as is usually the case. Costs will be decided between the approving authority and the bidder and this is where inflating the costs takes place i.e. the costlier, the better. We have seen far too many of such cases and it is still happening today. It is for this reason that I cannot agree to the argument put forth by Yen Yen when she says that the Direct Negotiation system is costs saving for her ministry, unless she can prove otherwise.
I can only say this to Yen Yen that the Finance Ministry when formulating and deciding upon a policy must have gone through a series of discussion and meetings, and once a policy has been decided, the policy cannot be wrong. Exception to a policy being formulated and decided upon, I think is not normal.
I also believe the AG cannot be wrong in its findings because of the serious repercussion it will bear upon the AG, if the findings are incorrect; worse still if it is false. Auditing a ministry/department is not something as easy as ABC. It requires meticulous work and the auditors are people of the highest integrity. And I know for one that the AG Tan Sri Ambrin Buang has all the traits of a man that possess the highest integrity, hard working, professional and most of all, he is thoroughly an honest person.
Now, based on the above reasoning and argument, I think Yen Yen is wrong in every aspect of her decision making and argument, and it is because of this that her ministry is now being placed under public scrutiny. And can someone tell me, how was Tourism Ministry able to save RM28 million via the Direct Negotiation as she had claimed? If what she claim is true, Yen Yen ought to be awarded the Pingat Selamatkan Wang Negara (PSWN),created solely for her.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION