Friday, October 19, 2012

Noh: Padi seed deal above board, to prevent monopoly

7:53PM Oct 18, 2012 
Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister Noh Omar has denied awarding padi seed supply contracts to cronies, stressing that open tender rules were relaxed slightly to allow more companies to participate in the tender.

NONEIn a press release today, Noh (right) said that the rules were relaxed after only five companies which qualified with the tender specifications had submitted their bids by the March 29, 2012 deadline.

A new deadline was set, allowing more companies to participate. This had allowed five more companies to participate in the bid.

“The evaluation meeting found that all 10 companies fulfilled tender requirements. The ministry set a supply quota based on the capacity of the company’s factory capacity to prevent a monopoly.

“For example, the production capacity of Sri Merbok Sdn Bhd and Haji Md Nor bin Haji Abd Rahmah (M) Sdn Bhd (HMN) were big, but they were not given a quota big enough to affect other companies,” he said.

NONENoh was responding to PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar’s (left) claim that the contracts were awarded to companies run by cronies.

Mahfuz’s claim was based a letter, purportedly written by a Finance Ministry official, warning that among the RM164.8 million worth of contracts, some were awarded to companies which failed to meet the tender criteria.

‘Pertinent issues ignored’

Noh’s press release made no mention of the letter or mostallegations contained in it, but instead attacked the opposition for trying to extract political mileage from of the deal.

“To me, this quota issue is being politicised by the opposition as though the quota prioritises cronies and the opposition (seems to) want a continued monopoly system.

NONE“The accusation that the tender went in favour of cronies is not true because the ministry allowed other companies to tender even after the closing date. 

"Ten companies were given opportunities,” he said.

Other issues not addressed by Noh’s press release includeHMN’s admission that it did not fully comply with the tender requirements, owning only one of the two factories needed to process the seeds.

Another issue is the fact that a former Negri Sembilan exco member, Mohamad Rais Zainuddin, sits on the board of Sri Merbok.

HMN and Seri Merbok were given the biggest slice of the pie. The companies will be distributing 25 percent and 27.5 percent of the 80,000 tonnes of seeds as stipulated by the ministry.

~ Malaysiakini

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