Call on Ministry of Finance to review its tender policies which is wasting taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Ketua Pembangkang, Lim Kit Siang,at the DAP Tenth Anniversary Territory DAP State
Sub-Committee at 63-D, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 3rd october, 1976 at 8.00 p.m.

Call on Ministry of Finance to review its tender policies which is wasting taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The government has pleaded its inability to pay as one of the reasons why it needs six months to study at greater depth the Ibrahim Ali report on revision of public employee salaries.

Yet, the government continues to allow extravagant waste in government departments, which is squandering away hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

In this connection, it is pertinent to refer to the Treasury ruling with regard to the award of tenders for government supplies and materials, which provides that where the tender price by a bumiputra tenderer does not exceed 105 of a competing tenderer, the tender should be awarded to the bumiputera.

It is an open secret that international and local firms submit at least two tenders, one under their original firm name, and another tender in the name of a bumiputra whicch is 105 higher than their own tender.

Thus, in a Ministry of Health tender for instance, an international pharmaceutical firm may put in a tender of $1 million for medical supplies and materials. At the same time, this firm would get the help of a bumiputra who lends his name to put in another tender for $1.1 million. The tender is awarded to the bumiputra tender, and the extra $100,000 public money is then split up, probably 50-50 or 80-20, between the international firm and the bumiputra who lends his name.

In this manner, the international firm makes more money while the public has to pay more for the same type and quantity of materials. This system cannot help one iota to uplift the poor Malay masses, but can only put the country into greater economic hardships and create a parasitic class of new, unproductive rich.

In 1975, public consumption reached $3,835 million. The purchase of supplies and materials by the government constitute 35% of this public consumption, or some #1,700 millions.

Thus, out of $1,700 million government supplies and materials, if 10% goes towards this parasitic form of payment, then the public and country loses $170 million, which can be more productively used to generate employment and fight poverty.

There must have been quite a number of millionaires created by the New Economic Policy without any effort, but lending their names to make millions through the easy, unproductive, parasitic way.

I cannot see how this form of waste of public funds can help eliminate poverty, or benefit the Malay and fishermen.

The Minister of Finance, Tengku Razaleigh, should review the government’s tender policies to eliminate these unproductive, parasitic and wasteful regulations which drain away scarce public resources to no purpose.

Instead of spending $170 million a year to create several millionaires and half-millionaires, the government should use this money to directly increase the productivity and incomes of the workers, farmers and fishermen, and to create jobs for the army of unemployed.