The Bomba’s appointment of a single entity to supply and install an automatic fire alarm monitoring system to replace the existing CMS (Computerized Monitoring System) was recently raised in Parliament by the MP from Lanang, Sarawak.
CAP had written to the Finance Ministry to enquire whether the “open tender” by the Bomba had complied with the rules of fair competition. Our enquiry was brushed aside and quickly closed with the curt reply that it complied with the treasury’s procedures on open tenders and was above board.
The advertised “open tender” closed on 30 Oct 2015 and it was actually a Request for Proposal for “planning, development, supply, installation, trial running, certification, operation and maintenance” of SPKA (Sistem Pengawasan Kebakaran Automatik), i.e an Automatic Fire Alarm Monitoring System.
On 17 December 2015 (a mere 33 working days later, including the time taken to evaluate the tenders submitted), the contract was awarded to iScada Net Sdn Bhd.
It is impossible for the tenders to have been evaluated and the company picked to have complied with all the criteria listed in the tender within such a short period of time. So how did iScada Net Sdn Bhd., the sole company awarded the contract, do it in less than 33 working days?
Secretly, Bomba and this company had started working on this project since June 2011. Meetings and briefings were held between the top brass of Bomba and this company and also with UKAS (Public-Private Partnership Unit under the Ministry of Finance).
The company had installed a trial unit of its SPKA system at UiTM Shah Alam and Bomba’s top brass had visited to see it. In November 2011 UKAS gave approval for pilot implementation of the SPKA system.
In May 2012 Bomba and iScada Net started trial-runs of the SPKA in two fire stations in the Klang Valley.
After the contract was signed with this company in December 2015, Bomba made it mandatory for all designated buildings to use this system as from January 2017 on pain of not getting their fire certificate approvals if they failed to comply. Even those that had installed the CMS system just before the mandatory use of SPKA were also required to install the new system at a cost of between RM6,000 to RM7,000.
The company claims that its SPKA system is fool proof. This claim is questionable as there is human intervention in the process before the alarm reaches the Bomba and this can incur a delay of up to two minutes unlike the CMS system which by-passes operators and goes directly from the designated building to the fire station.
We had written to the present Minister of Housing on this matter six weeks ago stressing that the mandatory use of SPKA should be suspended while a full investigation is carried out on the questionable “open tender”.
The Minister must look into this urgently as it is a matter of public safety and not only of a monopoly and questionable tender.
Press Statement, 9 August 2018