Disclose all – avoid controversy

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TO avoid controversy, disclose all. Although not a 100% guarantee that all will be fine, this “disclose-all” mantra may just work for businessmen and corporations that actually have a good plan in place when bidding for major projects.

Here’s why: once you disclose to the world the details of your bid, the public is then going to know pertinent facts such as your novel ideas for executing the project and the total cost at which you are able to carry out the project. Also the particular technology and manpower skills to be employed and the time frame within which you say you can do it.

In this full disclosure model also, the identity of the bidder should surface. If you are a corporation, ideally you should be setting up a special team, with a named head, who would be the spokesperson disclosing the bid.

Sure, the downside to this “disclose all” model is that a competing bidder may use that knowledge to put in a better bid.

But this is how I would rationalise that worry: if indeed your competitor is able to carry out the said project at a lower price, with better technology and within a faster time frame, then perhaps that party should deservedly win the contract.

But the difference now is this: the winning party and the authority awarding that party the contract will all be under pressure to disclose that the winning bid was better than the others, which all have been disclosed. And the public’s eye will continue to watch the progress of the contract execution, to see proof that the winning bidder lives up to his promises.

Applying this concept to major projects such as the Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) for the Gemas to Johor Baru stretch and Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project, parties vying for such projects should consider this “disclose-all” model.

Incidentally, both projects are of high importance because of the larger economic spin-offs they bring. In the case of the double track, the 200km or so stretch from Gemas to Johor Baru, costing about RM8bil, is the only portion of the North-South double-track railway project that is still unawarded.

This “last mile” should be awarded soon, in order for the nation to fully benefit from the whole stretch of the EDTP from north to south.

Indeed, kudos should be given to MMC – Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd which recently said that there would be no extension of time to complete the Ipoh-Padang Besar EDTP stretch. The project will be completed by the end of 2014.

As for the high speed rail, its benefits are obvious, connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and creating a seamless transport between the two major cities. What is less clear though is whether it will be built using the best proposal put forward. And in this regard, the “disclose all” model may be the solution to ensure that. – The Star