I refer to M Bakri Musa's column Competitive bidding - the best way and would like to add the following observations. Many government projects are launched in haste without proper planning. This results in minimal specifications and major modifications with massive wastage.
Too often, someone gets struck by a spark of 'genius' and national long-term plans get hijacked for some inexplicable reason. Three recent examples of hasty decisions are the RM2 billion crooked bridge cum Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex at Johor Baru, the switch back to English in schools and the national service scheme that recently announced upgrading plans for its newly constructed camps.
Apart from a lack of proper specifications and planning, many projects are awarded to crony contractors who do not actually carry out the job and there is little control on how many times a contract can be subcontracted.
In the old days, getting a government project was like receiving a pot of gold for payment was assured. Nowadays, with the entrenched crony system, the crony receiving the project 're-sells' the project and collects his profit up-front so that life is free and easy - and he need not know anything more about that project. All that is needed is to butter up someone to get the next project.
This probably explains the high failure rate of so many sub-contractors - their margins have been whittled away by so many middlemen that any slight variation in prices will cause serious losses.
The crony system has to be abolished as it creates a group of persons who are nothing more than parasites feeding off the national wealth and causing serious problems to national development.