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Thursday, November 22, 2012

AdilanClub: Latest AES shocker: Home Ministry paid 10 times more for speed cameras - Mahfuz

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Quotations for laser cameras made by suppliers to the governments of three states in the United States indicate that the Home Ministry may have paid more than 10 times for these speed cameras, Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Citing quotations made to the state of Delaware, Idaho and Montana between Oct 2011 to Jan 2012, Mahfuz, during the Home Ministry budget committee level debate, said an explanation must be provided by the minister.

The documents showed that Montana was quoted US$4,995 (RM15,292.59) and Idaho US$5,057.44 (RM15, 483. 84) per unit for Laser Trucam while Delaware was quoted US $6,378 (RM19,526.88) per unit of Laser Digicam.

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In a written reply to Mohd Firdaus Jaafar (PAS-Jerai), Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the ministry had paid RM173, 925 per unit for 85 units of Laser Digicam.

It also paid RM223,500 per unit for 39 units of Laser Trucam.

"For your information, police have been supplied speed cameras in stages since 1995. The total number of cameras to date is 124 units," the minister had said in the reply on Monday.

Bulk discounts

Mahfuz added that the price quoted for the state of Idaho was not just for the cameras, but also for warranty and service.

The supplier who gave a quotation to the state of Delaware also offered a bulk discount of about US$300 per unit for Laser Digicam, if the amount of units purchased was more than 10 units.

“How was the procurement done? Was it through open tender?...Which company was chosen to supply (these cameras)?” the MP asked.

Speaking to reporters later, he said that the minister should also disclose the brand of the cameras it had bought.

“But even if it was a different brand, there should not be such a large discrepancy. Even for compact digital cameras, if you buy a Nikon or a Canon with similar specifications, the price doesn't vary much,” he said.

Deputy minister: Cost includes training

Responding to this while winding up the debates, Deputy Home Minister Abu Seman Yusop said that the procurement was done through an open tender.

“The cost includes training for the police, two-year warranty and maintenance,” he said.

Abu Seman also said that one cannot compare the cost of the same item in Malaysia and the US as one needs to take into account other factors like import costs.

To this, Mahfuz contended that the US suppliers had also included warranty and maintenance to the per unit price offered.

“We can’t possibly say that it costs about RM170,000 and RM233,000 per unit because it includes training. Surely training is not worth more than RM100,000 per unit?

“It just does not make sense for training for a camera costing RM15,000 to RM18,000 per unit to be RM100,000,” he said.

He called for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the matter as “we don’t expect the police to investigate themselves”.

The minister had also promised to inform him of the identity of the contractor who won the lucractive bid.


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