PETALING JAYA: The Penang state government should implement the World Bank's procurement guidelines to prevent corruption and abuse of power, said a former member of the Board of Engineers Malaysia.
Koon Yew Yin, who is also known for being an investor and a philanthropist, said the World Bank has procurement guidelines that all borrowers have to follow and this includes a system of calling for tenders.
"It is a system which has helped to prevent corruption even in the most corrupted countries in the world," he said in a blog post recently.
He said the borrower must engage a reputable engineering consulting firm – which has had experience with similar projects – to put up a proposal and open bidding for the project to all contractors.
He said the consulting company responsible for the tender process should be independent and have no interest whatsoever in the project implementation.
"This ensures that there is no hanky-panky or 'insider trading'. After the contract is awarded, the consultant must ensure that the project is completed within cost and scheduled time," he said.
Koon said all contractors must be pre-qualified based on their technical and financial ability and that they must submit tenders conforming to the original design so that the cheapest tender can be selected.
He said if contractors are pre-qualified, the government tender board only has to look at the tendered price.
"It is important not to allow anybody from the government to negotiate with any contractor to avoid corruption," he said.
Koon added that transparency and accountability requires that all documents on the proposal be placed in the public sphere – not just limited information but detailed and full breakdowns in accordance with international best practices.
"This will ensure public monitoring and curbing of cost overruns which have plagued all mega projects in the country," he said.
He said that on the day the tender opens, contractors and media representatives should be invited to witness the opening of bids and tender prices should be publicly announced.
He added that contractors have to submit their tender according to the original design given by the appointed consultant although they can submit an alternative design provided that the price is cheaper and the quality is not inferior.
He said that contractors should not be invited to submit project proposals for any mega project because each contractor would have their own plans and designs, making it impossible for the tender board to evaluate.
Koon added that contractors should also be barred from taking on the role of engineering consultant as this would create a conflict of interest.