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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Transparency initiative in Malaysia

Government portal to make tenders more transparent and curb corruption
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this morning launched the MyPROCUREMENT portal, the government's procurement information center here.

In his speech, Najib said the portal was created as a mechanism to step up transparency in the procurement system and will become the main medium for spreading government information to the public.

The portal was developed to help curb corruption

With the implementation of decentralisation where ministries are given power to manage their own procurements, the portal will plays a role in gathering information from all the ministries.

In the first phase, the portal will publish advertisement lists, tender results and other procurement-related information, such as rules, tendering process and company registration system.

The portal will display a list of tender advertisements and latest tender results for all ministries uploaded from the agencies' websites every hour.

For starters, the portal will display the list of tender advertisements and results of all ministries from last June. Tender advertisements will be displayed from its start to end dates while results will be displayed up to 14 days after the "Surat Setuju Terima" is issued to the successful bidder.

The portal will also display procurement-related information such as government procurement policies and principles, procurement rules, company registration, Integrity Pact, frequently asked questions and a government tender archive. It can be accessed via

Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said, the announcement will boost confidence in foreign and also domestic investments. Malaysian contractors especially will be able to gain more on the basis of open tenders and meritocracy.

"Even if they lost, the contractors will have a fair view of who the tenders were awarded to and the basis of why and how it was awarded," he said.

Ramon said that ultimately, this will result in considerable savings to the government which helps to reduce its serious and growing budget deficits.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Paul Low said the process of how government contracts are being awarded has to be done in an objective manner to enable those applying for the tender to compete on equal grounds.

"The information published must be very clear on the details of the award so that everyone is able to see the disclosure on the reasons for making the award. Once this is done, it removes the opaqueness of decision making in government procurement and eliminates corruption," he said.

However, he said that sometimes this may not be enough if the infrastructure, which consists of the awarding committee and the evaluating committee, is not headed by individuals who are professional, objective and of high integrity.

"The process of awarding contracts itself has to be very open and conducted professionally," said Low.

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