MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Friday, December 29, 2023

Son, Wives, Fathers-in-law, and Family Sdn Bhd

“Isteri tua merajuk balik ke rumah isteri muda
Kalau dua-dua merajuk ana kahwin tiga
Mesti pandai pembohong
Mesti pandai temberang
Oh tetapi jangan sampai hai pecah tembelang…”

Lyrics of P Ramlee’s Madu Tiga

“Tok, I heard that you have taken wife No 4 on quiet.”

“Yes, lah YB. You know, she is not a trophy wife like some politicians.”

“You mean, you are following the call by PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man to have more than one wife?”

“No lah, this for business.”

“How can she help? Four wives mean more money for their maintenance. You got to multiply all expenses by four.”

“It’s a long story… But four wives mean four fathers-in-law. That also means one big extended family. There are cousins, in-laws, nephews, and nieces. That means they become eligible to submit bids for government contracts.”

“But how sure are you that you will be the successful tenderer?”

“It’s guaranteed. We submit 30 bids for the same job. We decide on the price ourselves. Surely, we won’t go wrong.”

“But your family members know nothing about conveyor belts or operation theatre systems? What if you win the bid?”

“It’s no problem at all. After winning the contract, you can look around for the suppliers and installers. There are so many companies around the world where you can source these products.

“Tok, this is not right. You are rigging the tender process.”

“No. This is our new novel way of doing business in Malaysia. It is perfectly legal as each of my fathers-in-law and family members represent different local companies who bid for a single job. Getting the job is assured.”

No mere joke

This is not some parody from the likes of Indi and Allan of the Comedy Court fame but how tenders are being manipulated and in the words of Malaysian Competitions Commission (MyCC) CEO Iskandar Ismail, who said such companies involved were detected trying to manipulate the tender offers.

Iskandar Ismail

“These people conspire with each other and submit tender bids to (for example) 50 companies at a time.

“There are company owners who marry four so that they can build their empires where A (company) will be held by the first father-in-law, company B will be held by the second father-in-law, company C will be owned by the sister-in-law, company D will be held by the nephews, while the other companies are held by their wives.

“After that, they will fill up the required forms together and go for site visits together... if the letter contains a spelling error, it will be reflected on all the other forms as they used the same (computer) and printer,” said Iskandar.

“So these people will ‘determine’ who is the winner (by agreeing on the tender price) and then distribute among themselves as if the government tender is their ‘property’,” he said in an interview on the Niaga Awani programme entitled “Jangan Duga Taring MyCC”, last week.

More than 500 companies are on MyCC’s radar for allegedly building cartels to bid for government projects.

How low can one go?

Are there no scruples and morals in doing business in Malaysia, or is this a falsely believed notion of entitlement under the government’s affirmative policies?

Morality is defined as the values that distinguish between good and bad or right and wrong actions. How low can they go in the search of fame and wealth? It appears that some are willing to cheat, lie, and be involved in deception in their bid to join an elite group.

It beggars belief that principles of doing business - honesty, fairness, leadership, integrity, compassion, respect, responsibility, loyalty, law-abiding, and transparency - have been dispensed for quick and immediate profits.

The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) in its introduction to a handbook - Code of Conduct for company directors and secretaries - states: “The core principles on which this code rely on are those that relate to transparency, integrity, accountability, corporate liability and sustainability.”

It serves little purpose to make directors attend courses related to the code if they refuse to comply with its provisions.

Codes are unwritten laws where non-compliance may not be punishable. But the million-ringgit question is if the perpetrators of such a scheme are brought to book and heavily punished.

However, being a Malaysian and having been used to write and comment on such indiscretions, there seems to be some form of reluctance on the part of the authorities to prosecute those who exploit and misuse the New Economic Policy (NEP).

The thriving Ali Baba justifies my assertions. - Mkini

R NADESWARAN is a veteran journalist who writes on bread-and-butter issues. Comments: citizen.nades22@gmail.com.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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