Saturday, January 17, 2004

The Reluctant Commitment From Musa

Chief Minister finally, reluctantly, said that Sabah will implement open tender system for government contracts except for small and urgent projects.

“We will implement open tenders wherever necessary but those that involve small and urgent projects will be decided through the normal process,” he added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that the majority of government contracts would be decided through open tender in line with on-going efforts to increase transparency, lower the cost of doing business and reduce the possibility of corruption.

People in Sabah have been waiting for a long time for Musa to make his commitment on the award of government projects. Too many hanky panky things have been going on in Sabah. Too many sharks, worse than loan sharks are taking advantage of the direct negotiated projects.

Qualified, experienced, capable and financially sound contractors, who could easily perform better, faster and with lower costs, were always the casualties of direct negotiated projects. Instead unknown companies, normally with political backing companies were given the projects.

These companies, of course, sold the projects for a quick profit. Some even openly scout for buyer when they were offered the LI (Letter of Intent). Another Ali Baba in the making. The work carried out later were of low standard due to too much commissions been paid out. And the Sabah government has everything to be blamed.

Direct negotiation in awarding of contracts have openly and intentionally created opportunities for favouritism and corruption. The PM was right in stopping the system previously practiced.

Look at Sabah, the one suffering are the people of the state. Not even a single government investment arms or agencies are properly managed and making profit. A good businessman will not continue with the business if it is not making money, unless, of course, he is losing money for his personal gains.

Being a businessman, Musa has already built up an unhealthy image among the politicians, UMNO mostly, and the business world. He has been accused of buying his votes even for the party's divisional election. He is more of a businessman than a politician. His political calculations have more considerations on business than the actual needs of the people.

If Musa is not reluctant on direct negotiation, then be open, tell the people how he catogorises 'small and urgent projects'. Let the people know and let the people judge. Don't fool the people, elected representatives are not necessary the best or the most intelligent.

Is the water privatisation project small and urgent? Any review?

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