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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Through the Looking Glass Darkly...

Time for the ACA to Act?
The on-going drama between the Customs and MPs provides a chance for the ACA to probe irregularities in the purchase of RM48m worth of uniforms that raise some interesting questions about how government contracts are awarded and approved.

According to this news report, prices are exorbitant and one wonders why local products were not used instead of paying for expensive foreign labour.

It also implies that goods were quoted for an imported source but the actual goods received were made locally.

There is thus an element of cheating in this “direct negotiation” contract.
One can only speculate as to what else transpires in such direct negotiations where there is no competition to obtain the best prices or quality.

This could be the scene in a book one can write:

Supplier: “Boss. Instead of supplying this design, we suggest a more modern outfit.”

Officer: “ Yes. That looks more stylish. What about the cost?”

Supplier: “ No worry about that. We can give for the same price.”

Officer: “That’s not what I meant. How much more profit do you make?”

Supplier: “Not too much, lah. Just cari makan.”

Officer: “I understand. Everyone needs that. Especially with the higher costs of fuel, electricity.”

Supplier: “ Maybe we can do something for you so everyone is happy.”

Officer: “What do you suggest?”

Supplier: “No problem lah. We have various methods to keep customers satisfied. Let me give you our brochure and you pick those you like.”

Officer: “ OK. Let me take a look.”

Supplier: “Don’t worry. This system has very little risk. Just give us this reference number and your choice and we will do the rest.”

What is in the menu?

Some wild possibilities:

 A golfing vacation where the company official will lose heavily at golfing bets.

 The bank account of a customer’s child studying overseas so that monies can be banked directly into the account.

 Overseas secret accounts

 Cruises with all expenses paid including sex partners

 Direct cash payments

 Entertainment at local night-clubs

The ACA should have the power to probe such public disclosures and not have to wait for the green light from the PM.

PS. I hope this article does not spoil your holiday. Have a good break but remember "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

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