‘Hints of graft’ in bids for M'sian govt projects

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malay NGO is suggesting that an element of corruption is present in the handling of proposals for government projects.

Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) president Azwanddin Hamzah said at a press conference yesterday that the leak of confidential proposals handed in during bids for government projects - a phenomenon dubbed the "photocopy express" - showed misuse of power by civil servants.

"I do not want to accuse anyone of any wrongdoing, but it is likely that the issue is present due to corruption within the ranks of the civil service," said Azwanddin.

He explained that JMM had received complaints that some companies won the bids for government tenders by submitting "copycat proposals" and that these companies often belonged to those known by the civil servants handling the bidding process.

He also alleged that these companies also lacked the expertise to carry out the projects they were bidding for.

Azwanddin said private companies were often the victims of the practice, and that JMM had received complaints from 13 companies.

"JMM is speaking out for them because they are afraid to come out and speak for themselves for fear of being blacklisted from future projects," he said, adding that JMM was currently collecting evidence from the companies affected.

"We are in talks with our lawyers and we will forward our findings to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)," he said, adding that widespread plagiarism discouraged companies from coming up with original ideas.

The issue was first highlighted by Umno supreme council member Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, followed by Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin and Selangor Umno secretary Datuk Johan Abdul Aziz, who both issued calls to the MACC to investigate the matter.