Eight IT firms fined RM1.5m for bid rigging

by S BIRRUNTHA/pic by Bernama

EIGHT local information technology (IT) companies were fined a total of RM1.54 million for engaging in bid rigging activities involving four projects worth RM1.92 million. 

Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) CEO Iskandar Ismail said the companies were found to have formed a cartel among them to deceive while submitting quotations and tender documents for four separate IT projects at the National Academy of Arts, Culture and Heritage (Aswara).

He added that MyCC had been investigating the companies since 2017 after receiving a complaint from Aswara who was suspicious of several irregularities in the procurement process involving three quotations and one tender.

“MyCC initiated an investigation under Section 15 of the Competition Act 2010 to ascertain whether there was a breach of Section 4 under the same act.

“When the investigation was conducted, it was found that three other projects contained the same element of bid rigging.

“After a thorough review of the evidence and careful consideration of the written and oral representations of the eight companies, MyCC decided based on strong evidence, there was a violation under Section 4(1) read in conjunction with Section 4(2) of the Competition Act 2010,” he said at a press conference at the MyCC office in Kuala Lumpur today.

The eight companies were Tuah Packet Sdn Bhd (RM224,589); Caliber Interconnects Sdn Bhd (RM301,822); Aliran Digital Sdn Bhd (RM32,471); Viamed Sdn Bhd (RM95,512); Novatis Resources Sdn Bhd (RM414,829); Silver Tech Synergy Sdn Bhd (RM14,836); Basenet Technology Sdn Bhd (RM143,283) and Venture Nucleus (M) Sdn Bhd (RM320,848).

He said following the imposition of fines, the companies concerned could be blacklisted and prevented from taking part in or accepting procurement offers from government agencies for up to five years.

Commenting further, Iskandar stressed that public procurement procedures are set in place to ensure competitive bidding.

Therefore, he said enterprises have a duty to act responsibly and interested bidders ought to prepare and submit their bids independent of each other. 

He noted in that regard, tenders or quotations submitted as a result of collusion or cooperation between bidders for the same tender restrict competition and create a false impression that the procurement process was fair.

“Therefore, the conduct of the said enterprises is severely harmful to the process of competition and causes losses to the government, thus resulting in leakages to public coffers.

“This decision is a reflection of MyCC’s commitment to continue cracking down on enterprises that collude to drain public funds through bid-rigging activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iskandar said at this juncture, MyCC is also investigating 500 companies suspected of being involved in rigging the bidding process of contracts worth RM2 billion across industries.

“We will resolute in taking stern action. Expect more decisions to follow suit,” he said.