Penang transport plan uses competitive open RFP — Joshua Woo

MAY 29 — Previously, Timothy Tye and I have written that the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) has been wrongly criticised.

Yesterday, there was another criticism on the PTMP, focusing on its procurement.

PTMP’s procurement criteria

The state government had called for proposals through the open Request-for-Proposal tender (open RFP) from late 2014 till early 2015.

A total of 55 local and foreign companies expressed interest, with six different proposals submitted.

The proposals were evaluated by the globally reputable audit and advisory firm KPMG, with its head office in the Netherlands.

The competitive evaluation criteria ranged from the required technical expertise to financial and business model to fund the project.

After a thorough review of all the alternatives, the state government based on KPMG’s evaluation appointed SRS Consortium in August 2015 to implement the PTMP.

Therefore, it is absolutely nonsensical for anyone to allege that “there is no set criteria for selection of RFP bids.”

Competitive open RFP

Open RFP allows bidders to offer their own proposals, with room for innovation. This tendering method was first employed by the Penang government in 2010 to develop and restore heritage sites.

Back then, Goh Ban Lee, associate professor at Universiti Sains Malaysia, praised the state government for using open RFP, saying that it is “new thinking” that “will provide a myriad of ideas and, with competition, the bidders strive to give their best shot.”

The open RFP method has proven to be so effective and appropriate that the World Bank, United Nations, Queensland government, National University of Singapore Society and other institutions are using it.

And the Penang government used this procurement method for PTMP.

Whether it is the Penang government, World Bank, UN, Australia, or Singapore, open RFP is internationally recognised as a type of open tender.

PTMP’s reviews

Besides open RFP, a further review of PTMP was carried out with workshops and consultation attended by state and federal agencies and authorities. Changes were added to the initial proposal before the formulation of the present PTMP. Subsequently, the state government also engaged Universiti Sains Malaysia to review the project.

In addition to all the reviews, more than 30 official engagement sessions and seminars were held within a span of two years to collect feedback and comments from the public and various stakeholders in Penang. This was way before any official approval was granted for the proposal.

The state government earnestly carried out the engagements openly, without being legally required to do so. From 2015 until August 2018, there were 965 engagement sessions conducted, involving 17,000 stakeholders.

To summarise, the present PTMP was the result of competitive open RFP and decided after alternatives were considered and international studies, professional reviews, and public engagements were conducted.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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