Tuesday, November 26, 2013

U-Custom tender raised in Parliament

On September 24th, 2013, this blog exposed a typical leakage in a contract for Custom's IT system called as U-Customs. [Read again here]

After Customs's had set the technical specifications and short listed the tenders by the technical merits and ranked it, it is send to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). They are supposed to rank the tenders by pricing and determine the most rightful tender to win.

However, there is a funny bit and that is where the leakage which allowed those with the insider contacts to steal the tender from the rightful winner. 

We extract from the earlier posting:
Prior to reaching the Tender Committee chaired by  Najib, the papers and documents have to be sent to a committee of Little Napoleans.

The Little Napoleans will would vet through Customs review and make their own recomendation. It would be usually strange for user comment to be far different from the Little Napoleans'.

Usually Najib and the Committee of top level government officers sometimes including MoF II would merely approve as recommended by the Little Napoleans.
Part of the manipulation by the Little Napoleans is to justify their bias preference for a certain company. When it is being questioned, they have the "bureaucratic-style answers" which serves to answer with the minimal of disclosure and to end the issue immediately.

That is an art by itself.

It seemed our posting caught the attention of a DAP Member of Parliament. YB Lim Kian Ong and he raised it in Parliament on November 12.

Don't make any assumption cause we hardly know this former MCA, Gerakan, etc. There are some 13 or 14 tenderers thus he could have sourced the information from any of them. 

The following is the answer as prepared and provided by the Little Napoleans: 
Jawapan Parlimen Syarikat Brilliance Information Customs 12/11/2013
36. PR-1313-L58694
Dr. Ong Kian Ming [ Serdang ] minta MENTERI KEWANGAN menyatakan kenapa Syarikat Brilliance Information diberikan projek Pembangunan Sistem U-Customs untuk Jabatan Kastam dan Eksais Diraja Malaysia yang bernilai RM345 juta yang bukan merupakan tawaran yang terbaik dari segi teknikal ataupun termurah.
Perolehan projek Pembagunan Sistem U-Customs telah dilaksanakan secara tender terbuka. Tender ini telah ditawakan kepada Syarikat Brilliance Information yang menawarkan harga kedua terendah kerana tawaran syarikat ini memenuhi sebahagian besar spesifikasi teknikal yang ditetapkan oleh Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia iaitu aktiviti perkastaman dan fasilitasi perdagangan berbanding syarikat yang menawarkan harga terendah.
Petender yang menawarkan harga terendah tidak memenuhi keperluan Jabatan Kastam Diraja Malaysia kerana menawarkan front end yang meliputi single window dan fasilitasi pengilangan sahaja serta Public Key Infrastructure yang tidak menepati Akta Tandatangan Digital 1997. Cadangan petender ini memerlukan banyak pengubahsuaian untuk diselaraskan dengan semua keperluan perkastaman yang mana akan menyebabkan kos yang lebih tinggi kepada Kerajaan.
With that answer, Kian Ming was unable to reply. 

It was done ash open tender and the lowest tender did not meet the specification. How is anyone in public to question the technical issues involved and whether the claim is true? 

So they only make unsubstantiated accusation using simplistic assumptions and conclusions like Jesvan Kaur did in in FMT. To accuse, one must be able to lay some fact.

Brilliance Information is NOT the second lowest as claimed. MoF lied!

There are four other companies with lower bid than Brilliance Information. Our informer said that Brilliance is placed at around 3rd or 4th among the short-listed ones. 

Assuming the technical shortfalls of the lowest tenderer is true (in which may not be since all the shortlisted one have Digicert), the fact also is Briliance Information comes 3rd or 4th in terms of technical. 

As such it is near impossible for them to be positioned as 1st or 2nd overall. 

If lowest company was not chosen due to some technical  flaws (in which such claims is still questionable), why then are other companies which has better technical engine not chosen?

For the sake of transparency, could the top 5 for technical; top 5 for pricing and top 5 be made known?

Surely, the Little Napoleans will insists to say it is private and confidential thus we are left only to believe that there was no hanky panky (when the tenderers know there was). 

They will likely say government processing of tenders met the highest level of professionalism and practices as in accordance with some world standards of procedures.

But, the fact is the Little Napoleans that submit the recomendation to Tender Board may have not do so objectively and with the best interest of government. 

 Here is a big fish to catch. 

A good investigation team from MACC could smell it is corruption. They need technical expertise to conclusively prove that the Little Napolean may have intentionally done a recomendation not to the interest of government. 

They have also lied in Parliament, which is another offense by itself.
Ask not what MACC can do to fight corruption - ask what you can do to fight corruption. Any one to offer MACC technical help to reel in this big fish?


Anonymous said...

Tuan Haji,
"They have also lied in Parliament, which is another offense by itself".
What else does MACC need to start an investigation.

Anonymous said...

It will take a thief to catch a thief, need money to make money and resilient 'big fish' whom is/are an experienced thief whom made his money and wants to come clean and do his final bucket list to rid himself of any guilt....l guess

Good expose though....hopefully there are takers to the offer.


Anonymous said...

i have a question - is the lowest price mentioned in the article based on the initial list as of submission of tender through ePerolehan or is it based on the shortlisted list after the technical evaluation and ranking?
If the lowest price is based on the initial list as of submission, then referring to Brilliance Info price as second lowest definitely is a "lie". All tenderers know that.
If the lowest price mentioned in the article is based on the shortlisted list, then why harp on non-compliance technically if that tenderer had made it to the shortlist, i.e. that tenderer has passed through the mandatory specifications, meaning having proposed not just the COTS for "sistem perkastaman, etc." but also answered to the "fasilitasi perdagangan (not "pengilangan")" aspects. So, what is the issue?

If that tenderer/tenderers is/are technically compliant but its/their price happens to be the lowest/second lowest and you are afraid that there may be hidden costs, then why don't you seek clarifications and do due diligence on the lowest/second lowest price before doing overall ranking?

Ada pelbagai cara untuk lebih objektif, adil dan "transparent", hanya mahu atau tidak mahu sahaja.

Anonymous said...

Such a big project without a Proof of Concept will bound to fail. u-Customs is using COTS product therefore customization will be reduced. But does Brilliance Info solution used a real COTS? Microsoft is just a platform....Micro Clear and Greenlane...what are their experience. I heard a middle east country is replacing the Micro Clear system so why are we using them? Again no Proof of Concept or clarification been called....weird for a such big project...we hope PAC, AG and MACC look into this :)

whistlewhistle2014 said...

Check this out. Another direct nego? No wonder we end up wif crappy systems! http://whistlewhistle2014.blogspot.com

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