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Penang open tender a boon to Class F contractors

 | November 30, 2011

It has allowed capable bumiputera contractors to prosper without the need for political patronage, says economic research group, Refsa

PETALING JAYA: An economic research group praised Penang’s open tender system for government procurement, saying it has encouraged genuine bumiputera contractors to flourish.

Research for Social Advancement (Refsa), said that the Class F contractors had recorded better productivity and were able to live up to their true potential with the open tender system.

“The process has also rehabilitated the image of Class F contractors which was put in a negative light in the past,” it said.

Class F contracts are only awarded to bumiputeras for projects below RM200,000.

The open tender system, Refsa said, had become an effective affirmative action policy to assist bumiputeras without the need for middlemen and political patronage to procure projects.

“Umno itself has acknowledged that the fate of the party and the contractors are related. Hence Class F mechanism was used as a tool to foster political dependency,” said Refsa.

Refsa quoted Class F Contrators Association of Penang president, Tahir Jalaludin Hussain, who had said that in the past, one needed a support letter from a local Umno division leader to secure a project.

“And you must be prepared to pay a commission. With Pakatan Rakyat, Class F contractors could submit a bid for a project through a transparent digital process called e-Procurement.

“The system makes middlemen obsolete and genuine Malay contractors are getting projects based on their ability, which is how it should be,” the report quoted Tahir as saying last month.

Refsa said equitable access and rewards given to capable contractors were the impetus needed to contribute to Penang and Malaysia’s overall success.

“It also restores market efficiency by reducing wastages and inflated pricing associated with public procurement,” said Refsa.


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