MyCC cracks down on bid-rigging practices

Malaysia Competition Commission CEO Iskandar Ismail at the press conference yesterday announcing Malaysia's first bid-rigging case in public procurement at MYCC office at the KL Sentral.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s previous public procurement deals worth multi-million ringgit have come under scrutiny, as the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) intensifies its investigation into potential bid-rigging practices involving a few hundred companies in several government tenders.

The anti-monopoly commission, which penalised eight companies on March 4 for their involvement in the country’s first big rigging case in public procurement, is currently actively investigating two cases involving bid rigging in tenders issued by the government.

According to MyCC chief executive officer Iskandar Ismail, the agency is also looking at three other complaints lodged related to bid rigging in public procurement.

When asked whether the companies under investigation include government-linked companies, Iskandar said “no comment” and declined to elaborate.

“MyCC will continue to take firm action against any bid rigging in public procurement without fear or favour, because such practices will cause loss of revenue for the government.

“Bid rigging in public procurement tenders causes the government to pay more for its purchases more than what it should. This must not happen,” Iskandar told reporters during a press conference yesterday.

He also warned businesses in Malaysia to avoid engaging in collusion and anti-competition practices, both in public and private-sector deals, in order to spur healthy competition and create wider choices of products for consumers with better quality and reasonable prices.

Yesterday, MyCC announced that it had issued a total penalty of RM1.94mil against eight companies for their involvement in bid-rigging offences related to an information technology (IT) procurement by Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara), a public higher learning institution.

This was Malaysia’s first bid-rigging case in public procurement.

Iskandar pointed out that Aswara was a statutory body under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

He added that the bid-rigging offence took place within the past two to three years.

MyCC found that the eight companies colluded with each other by sharing each other’s request for quotations (RFQ) and tender proposal information, manipulating prices and preparing documents for one another. The winner of the RFQ and tender also shared their profits with the losing bidders.

The total value of the RFQ and tender was about RM1.93mil.

The eight companies involved were Tuah Packet Sdn Bhd, Caliber Interconnects Sdn Bhd, Aliran Digital Sdn Bhd, Viamed Sdn Bhd, Novatis Resources Sdn Bhd, Silver Tech Synergy Sdn Bhd, Basenet Technology Sdn Bhd and Venture Nucleus (M) Sdn Bhd.

Checks by StarBiz found that except for Silver Tech Synergy, the other seven companies had previously won contracts from various ministries and government agencies worth tens of millions of ringgit cumulatively.

“This [case] is just the start. MyCC is serious in breaking the bid-rigging practice in public procurement.

“I would like to point out that Aswara was not investigated.

“In fact, it was Aswara that lodged the complaint with us and MyCC would like to thank Aswara for giving full cooperation and support to us in breaking up this bid-rigging cartel,” he said.

The eight companies were served a notice on the decision by MyCC on March 4. They are now required to deliver a written submission or an oral representation to MyCC on the penalty, following which Iskandar said the final penalty amount would be decided by the commission.

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