If Sarawak is indeed genuine about wanting international players in its development, then it must embrace transparency in its tender process, says DAP.
Its state Secretary Chong Chieng Jen said Tenaga, upon the closing of any open tender, publishes for public viewing all the tender prices received.
“This is an essential process to instil confidence in industrial players that there is fair and transparent tender process,” he said.
“But if SEB or the government does not practise transparency after spending millions of ringgit in preparing the tender documents and if it just gives it to its crony companies, then the reputation of Sarawak will be destroyed.
“Nobody from among the international players will bid for future tenders knowing very well it will go to crony companies. If that happens, it will be a big loss to Sarawakians because there will be less competition.
“Without competition, it means the tender prices will be higher,” warned Chong, who Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman.
He was commenting on the tenders to construct a 500KV electricity transmission network from Similajau in Bintulu to Tondong in Bau, a distance of 505km.
The tender is expected to be discussed and awarded on July 16.
Five companies have submitted tenders for the project, but only two, namely Shanghai Electric Group Co and Sino-Trenergy JV, have been shortlisted.
According to Chong, Shanghai Electric submitted the lowest tender price of RM1,017 million, while Sinohydro Corporation JV Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd submitted a tender price of RM1,151 million – RM134 million more than its rival.
“I call upon SEB – Sarawak Electricty Supply Corporation (Sesco) – to practise more transparency in its tender process and the award of projects.
“Sesco is not a private company. It is a company wholly-owned by the Sarawak government and it has monopolistic power to supply electricity in Sarawak.
“Its revenue comes directly from the residents of Sarawak who pay the monthly electricity bills.
“As such, Sesco is as much answerable to the people of Sarawak as the government of the day,” he said.
Taib’s son tipped to win
Chong said that he submitted a letter on June 16 enquiring on the tenders received for the 500KV transmission project.
“It is regrettable that until today, there is no response to my letter. This is not usual given that it has been the practice of Sesco to reply to my letters in respect of public complaints.
“Why is Sesco is silent?” he asked.
Chong said that rumours are rife in the local industry that despite the fact that Sino-Trenergy has submitted a tender, which is RM134 million more expensive, it will likely be awarded the project.
“There are a few reasons for the speculation that Sino-Trenergy has a high chance of being awarded the project. One reason is that a major shareholder of Trenergy Infrastructure is Mahmud Abu Bekir, the son of Sarawak chief minister.
“In Sarawak, it has become a norm that companies of the family members of the Sarawak chief minister are getting government contracts without even going through any tender processes.
“Therefore, it is no surprise that Sino-Trenergy will likely be awarded the 500KV backbone transmission project despite its tender being RM134 million more expensive than Shanghai Electric Group.
“As Sarawak is now venturing into international market, one important practice that must be upheld is transparency in all government and business sectors.
“As such, I call Sesco to emulate what is practised by Tenaga, its counterpart in the Peninsula, whereby, upon the closing of any tender, all the tender prices received will be published and subject to public viewing.
“Such practice is to prevent manipulation of the tender process and to assure there will be fair play in the award of tenders,” he said.