The Selangor government has dismissed claims of impropriety, but Cassa and other NGOs will push ahead with a nationwide anti-corruption roadshow.
SUBANG JAYA: Fresh documents in connection with allegations of irregularities in the awarding of waste disposal contracts in Selangor have surfaced and it appears that the heat on the state government over the issue will not subside anytime soon.
The Consumer Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa) this morning revealed more documents which brought to light one key mysterious character known as “Mok” and a new allegation that “friends and cronies” were involved in the tender processes for garbage collection contracts.
Downplaying the issue, an official from the Menteri Besar’s office told FMT yesterday that the state was already looking into the matter.
The official, who spoke on behalf of Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, said the state had already directed an audit by the Auditor-General with regard to the garbage tender process.
“This is in line with the treasury directive,” said the official, who could not confirm if the directive was made in response to the allegations that surfaced.
“To date, the state is also puzzled with the complaints by non-Bumi contractors on the matter. After all, Alam Flora has claimed that all work goes to Bumi contractors,” said the official.
“While we look at all complaints – because we want to improve the services at competitive cost – we also need to check if the complaints are genuine or from disgruntled parties who lose out to the system set by the state which in the long run will weed out the rentier group,” she added.
During a press conference here, Cassa president Jacob George, who is also Selangor Consumer Council head, revealed a document which he claimed came from a whistleblower that listed about 30 “suspicious” companies that had alleged irregularities.
The document also listed down the “problems” with those companies, which were among those that won the Shah Alam Municipal Council garbage collection tenders.
“Here we see allegations that many of these companies are using the same trash compactors and lorries. What was the yardstick or barometer used to give these companies the contracts?
“Usually we give it to companies that have the infrastructure, experience and good price. But is that happening now? Why are companies sub-contracting their jobs and using other people’s trucks? Was there no conflict of interest?
“There’s also the allegation that two companies are offering prices so close to the estimated price which can only mean that somebody inside was feeding this contractors info about the tender details,” said George.
‘Something is not right’
“Something is not right. I’m a consumer group and I’m highlighting complaints from the people. Why is the onus on Cassa to prove all the elements of corruption? That’s MACC’s job. Why is the state government pushing all the burden on us and not coming out openly to explain everything?” he asked.
George said that by right, the government should be transparent enough to make public the tender documents to let the public know the real processes.
“If you really wanted to give these projects to your friends, why not just hold close tenders?” he added.
Another document George showed reporters was an anonymous poison pen letter allegedly written by one contractor who lost in the tender process. The contractor claimed that cronies and friends were being unfairly favoured.
“Then the letter also refers to a character by the name of ‘Mok’, a name which I have been hearing from my other sources, too. He seems to be a facilitator who is in charge of the entire tender process.
“This looks like a Ali Baba operation where Bumi companies are used as fronts while another person is controlling the proxies. These are all ‘shell companies’, ” he said.
George also announced that Cassa with at least 16 other NGOs were going ahead with a plan to go on a nationwide anti-corruption roadshow.
Calling it the “Ops Perang Rasuah”, he said that he would concentrate on Pakatan Rakyat states and educate voters.
“We want to unmask politicians. We want to talk about good governance and corruption. Not only garbage tenders, but the issue of sand, purchasing and procurement. We want voters to think and vote rightly, he added.
Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association (PPIM) executive officer Mohd Mustaffa Hamzah, whose organisation supported Cassa, called for drastic action from the Selangor government.
“We urge all other NGOs to make the same stand to support transparency and be anti-corruption, as graft would stop Malaysia’s growth. Now we are seeing leaders who are not realistic. They talk about anti-corrruption but when it is their friends, they keep quiet. That’s not right,” he said.
Yesterday, Selangor executive councillor for Local Government, Research and Development Ronnie Liu announced that the state was buying 50 trash compactors and renting them out to contractors to solve garbage problems in the state.
He also stressed that the tenders for the waste management contracts were done according to the rules and regulations of local councils.
“We have nothing to hide. Every operator and contractor comes through open tenders, and they were selected based on the lowest reasonable price they offered,” he said.
‘A ticking time bomb’
“Fifty new trash compactors each costing RM250,000? It’s a total waste. You take away Alam Flora’s contract, fine, you give it to new contractors, fine. But they don’t have the equipment and now you buy it for them? This is what I call ‘bodoh sombong’ (stupid and arrogant) behaviour. Who made such a decision? Why are we duplicating the old problems?”
“Something is terribly wrong here. And what we’re going to see is the quality in rubbish collection drop drastically. This is a ticking time bomb,” he said.
George also criticised Liu for a statement he made saying that the menteri besar personally oversaw the tenders.
“Are you saying that the head of the state himself needs to sit down and look at such a small matter as rubbish collection tenders? This would give rise to a lot of laughter and a negative perception,” he said.
George also rebutted the Shah Alam Municipal Council’s argument that a company given four different zones was a state subsidiary.
“How could a state subsidiary be taking part in a tender meant for outsiders? It is very unethical. You can’t give it to a state agency,” he said.
George said that the state secretary Khusrin Munawi’s statement that 15% to 20% of garbage collection contractors might need to be terminated, showed how serious the issue was.
The Cassa president had in the past few weeks highlighted complaints from more than 30 unhappy contractors and whistleblowers who alleged that cronyism and corruption were rife in the awarding of garbage collection contracts in several local councils in the state.
Among others, there had been allegations that those more deserving had been sidelined and those unqualified given tenders. Cassa had since lodged reports with both the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).