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Two tenders for World Expo contract, says MP

2009. 21 July

by Tim Leonard
( The award of a lucrative contract to drug firm Venturepharm Asia Sdn Bhd to construct a Malaysia pavillion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai has raised more questions, with a member of Parliament asking why the first tender process in which Venturepharm did not participate was cancelled.

Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, who first raised questions on Venturepharm in Parliament last month, told theSun yesterday that Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen must explain why she cancelled the first process of tender.

"In the first tender opened on March 13 and closed on April 3 this year, nine companies submitted proposals. Venturepharm was not on the list," he said.

"It was opened during Datuk Azalina Othman's tenure as Tourism Minister. But when the new minister took office, a fresh tender was opened on May 13 and closed on June 4. Venturepharm came in only in the second tender and its proposal was not the cheapest."

Wee said the decision to award the contract to Venturepharm was not disclosed to the public and companies which lost the bid were only notified later.

He asked why Venturepharm, which has no prior experience in this field of work, was given the job.

theSun today carried a front-page report that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was investigating the company and the manner in which the contract was awarded following a complaint on the matter.

The contract sum was reported as RM19 million, but Wee said the sum was RM19.998 million.

Ng has denied any political link that could have influenced the decision to award Venturepharm the contract.

She also told theSun in a telephone interview that the contract was awarded via an open tender and she was not involved.

Venturepharm's director Chen Oyan Yun Shai was unavailable for comments. Checks with her office revealed she is overseas.

Chen's son Chin Fook Kwon, 24, is involved in another company Daro Worldwide Sdn Bhd, which was awarded a contract to operate the Tourism Call Centre.

Meanwhile, two losing bidders in the tender contacted theSun to express their disappointment over the way the Ministry handled the issue.

"We lost some RM80,000 just preparing for the bidding as we had to pay the architect's fee and come up with two sets of proposed models for the Malaysia Pavillion as we had to go through the tender process twice," said a bidder, who declined to be named.

He also questioned why the contract was awarded to a company which not at all involved in their scope of work.

The World Expo is Shangai China is scheduled for May 1 to Oct 31 next year. Countries from all over the world will be participating in the expo which is themed 'Better City, Better life'.