After losing bid for CSI contract despite lowest price, firm lodges MACC report

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A firm which specialises in crime scene investigation (CSI) equipment has lodged a report with the MACC over a tender process for a contract to furnish the police with forensic items.

Terbang Logistics Sdn Bhd, which secured the contract for fingerprint consumable items between 2011 and 2016, lodged the report on Dec 3 last year after failing to obtain a renewal for its two-year contract in the latest bid.

Managing director and chief executive officer Robert Tang claimed his company not only offered the lowest price among five bidders but also fulfilled the Home Ministry’s 58 specifications.

MACC has confirmed receiving the report and that an investigation was underway.

“We put up a tender worth RM7,129,510 on June 9, 2020. What was published on the government’s e-procurement website a day after the tender closed on June 10, 2020 showed that we offered the lowest price,” Tang told Malaysiakini.

The other bids ranged from RM9,941,276 to RM10,000,080. The e-procurement platform, however, did not name the companies involved.

Tang, whose companies have been involved in various government contracts for the past four decades, said the practice was to pick the lowest price with the right specifications.

He stressed that the contract was normally awarded to the lowest bidder who was able to satisfy the requirements.

“Otherwise. there is no need for an open tender,” he said.

On the e-procurement website, it stated the government is not bound to accept the lowest quotation, or any quotation offered as outlined in the terms for the bidders.

The fingerprint consumable items include equipment sets, test kits, as well as powder and chemicals used to recover fingerprints from different surfaces at crime scenes.

Tang believed that Terbang Logistics could still generate a 15 percent profit margin if the firm had secured the contract.

He said he was not sure what was the bid of the firm which won the contract but noted that the second-lowest price on the e-procurement website was RM2.8 million higher than Terbang Logistics’ quotation.

“We lodged a report with MACC on Dec 3, 2020, which was on the same day we were notified that we failed in our bid,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tang also noted the requirement for the bidders “to have training facilities and proven abilities and capabilities to conduct forensic fingerprint…”. The supplier is required to provide a six-day training session for 40 officers on how to use the items.

He claimed that such training can only be provided by a certified CSI forensic instructor and Terbang Logistics is the sole company in Malaysia equipped with these training facilities and experts.

“Sirchie, the world’s largest CSI equipment manufacturer, which provides fingerprint consumable items to over 140 countries will issue a certificate to the police officers after completing the training,” he added.

Tang said this certification is important to ensure that proper procedure is adhered to when police officers recover fingerprints from a crime scene so that the evidence is not challenged in court.

Terbang Logistics is the sole Malaysian distributor for Sirchie and also supplies the products to Southeast Asian countries.

Malaysiakini has contacted Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin and the Royal Malaysian Police secretary’s office and police public relations for comment.

Vowing to continue fighting the issue, Tang said he is mulling legal action if not satisfied with the MACC investigation.

“You are taking away my contract, my rice bowl, and giving it to another company, whose price is higher than mine,” he said.

Kow Gah Chie/Malaysiakini

Tang also sought assistance from Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng who wrote to Ramli regarding the issue on Dec 15, 2020.

In his reply dated Feb 15 this year, the police secretary said a review found that the contract had been awarded according to the stipulated procedure.

“The procurement process for this contract had been implemented in detail by the Home Ministry. Among the factors for the selection of the technical specifications included required sample and financial evaluation, which included the experience, in addition to the lowest price offered,” he said. – Malaysiakini