PM: Open tenders for most EPPs

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government has pledged that almost all 131 entry-point projects (EPPs) under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) will be through the open tender process.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government would ensure “big projects” be conducted in an “open and transparent way”, stressing that it would use competitive tenders as a “default” process to ensure a level playing field.

“Only in exceptional cases, we will resort to restricted or direct negotiations,” he said during his keynote address at the launch of the Economic Transformation Programme Roadmap yesterday.

At a press conference after the launch yesterday, Najib explained that while “some projects” could not be tendered out, it did not mean projects awarded to a major consortium would see “everything else” down the line skipping the open tender process.

“There is a lot of construction work. If you want to build tunnels for example, that will be tendered out. If you want to construct drains and lay cables, these will be tendered out. You can see the process is very transparent,” he added.

Najib also urged the private sector involved in the ETP to opt for open tenders as it would translate into the “best value for money”.

Najib said 53 EPPs with a total investment value of US$97 billion (RM300 million), almost 45% of the total targeted, were already in various active stages of investments. He also pointed out that EPPs were merely identified to kick-start the ETP and that more projects would be included as the country moved along towards becoming a high-income economy by 2020.

The prime minister also announced nine early wins where the projects and participating companies had confirmed their investments by signing agreements. He  added they include the relocation and setting up of five wafer fabrication plants by German firm LFoundry in Kulim Hi-Tech Park over five years. The initial investment is valued at RM214 million and total estimated investment is RM1.9 billion.

The others are retail player Mydin’s commitment to invest in 14 new branches over the next three years at RM1 billion, a RM1.2 billion investment in a 208-room hotel and 160-unit residence to be managed by six-star hospitality brand St Regis and built on a 2.2 acre site in KL Sentral, oilfield services player Schlumberger’s opening of their Eastern Hemisphere Global Financial Services Hub in Bandar Utama and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s 25-year concession award to WCT Bhd to build and operate the RM486 million integrated complex at KLIA2.

Others include Mubadala’s collaboration with 1MDB to develop the KL International Financial District valued at RM26 billion, Premium Renewable Energy’s building of five bio-oil plants over the next five years with the first valued at RM124 million in Lahad Datu, Asia e-University’s appointment by the Ministry of Higher Education as the gateway university for online and distance learning that is expected to produce RM100 million in gross national income (GNI) and Genting Bhd’s RM150 million mixed-development township of Johor Premium Outlets to be located at Genting Indahpura.

The government had in September announced plans involving investments totalling RM1.3 trillion to triple the country’s GNI from RM660 billion in 2009 to RM1.7 trillion in 2020.

Najib said he would personally ensure that his ministers monitored the performance of the EPPs and investments, which would be part of their key performance indicators.

“In fact, I have already conducted two rounds of performance reviews with all my ministers and this will continue once every six months,” he noted in his hour-long speech.
This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, October 26, 2010.
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