Our intrepid Auditor-General(AG) has discovered 12 of 35 lapses in public sector tender exercises may be attributed to "laxity in the area of procurement". The current standard operation procedures (SOP) apparently allow for:
- waiving competitive offers based on weak grounds;
- letting certain bidders alter their bids after the tender has closed;
- and not disclosing the evaluation criteria upfront in tender documents.
The 5 ministries fingered by the AG are not exactly the smaller outfits likely to hide under the radar. They include:
- Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (c/o Lawrence Wong);
- Ministry of Education (c/o Heng Swee Kiat);
- Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (c/o V Balakrishnan);
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (c/o K Shanmugam);
- Ministry of Home Affairs (c/o Teo Chee Hean).
Chairman of the Centre for Public Project Management Cedric Fool - there's no other way to spell his name after this - thinks public officers should be rewarded for good practices, not disciplined for flouting the rules. Spare the rod and spoil the child, and that's how a culture of laxity is pervading the system.