Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) refers to recent reports that a concession has been awarded for the proposed West Coast Expressway. This is a mega project, reported to cost RM7.07 billion, involve massive public financing of a soft loan of RM2.24 billion and payment of RM980 million for land acquisition, and an unprecedented 60-year toll concession that the public will have to bear.
TI-M views with concern the apparent lack of transparency and proper procedure in the award. Given the public funding and long concession period, there could have been proper governance and transparency in the award through an open, transparent and competitive procurement process and public disclosure of the terms and conditions of the contract.
A mega project of this size and impact on the public is an ideal candidate for implementing the Integrity Pact (IP), a tool for curbing corruption risks in public contracting projects. The government has recognised the potential benefits of IPs by a Treasury circular dated 16 December 2010 outlining guidelines for implementing IPs in government procurement. Further, MRT Corp., the GLC tasked with implementing the MRT project, has agreed to incorporate the IP in its procurement exercises.
TI-M calls on the government to provide details of the procurement process and the concession agreement for this mega project to answer the many questions and concern being raised due to the lack of information. This will help show that the government is committed to tackling graft in Malaysia through better disclosure and governance and consistency in implementation of integrity compliance measures in all public projects.