Computer balloting for public construction raises lawmakers’ concerns

Thursday, May 1, 2008
Issue 330, Page 5
Word count: 400
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Lawmakers yesterday expressed concern about the government introducing a computer balloting system in selecting contractors, citing the measure could impact the quality assurance of public construction.

The Eventual Committee for Land and Public Concession Regime held another meeting at the Legislative Assembly where government representatives started bringing in case studies and briefed the committee on the system for opening a tender.

President of the committee, Kou Hoi In, said the “TN27” land parcel project in Taipa’s Estrada do Coronel Mesquita which would be for building public housing, was discussed during the meeting.

While Mr Kou said lawmakers were concerned about how to maintain “transparency, fairness, impartiality and openness” during the bidding process so that the most appropriate contractor would be chosen, the government was more concerned with how to attract a greater number of candidates into the tender and with bringing in a computer lot-drawing system for selecting the winning bidder, he added.

But the committee said such “mechanical types of selection” could possibly jeopardise the quality issue of the construction as well as its product, Mr Kou was told.

The government responded that all the contractors being selected would receive an assessment after construction was completed and the result would then be analysed and ranked by computer which could give the government a more practical indication or reference of these companies in future construction projects.

Mr Kou said lawmakers urged the government to maintain “a balance” between quality assurance and contractors selection so that “the public fund could be utilised properly”.

Yesterday’s meeting also saw the two parties discuss “invitation tenders” in which certain contractors would be invited to participate in the bidding if the construction cost was below 2.5 million patacas.

Not only that the attendees studied how to preserve a fair and justified participation for the invited contractors, but they also touched on the topic of adjusting the 2.5 million pataca limitation which Mr Kou said would be part of their agenda later on.

Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, told the reporters after the meeting assessment criteria of vetting committees had become “more objective”, such as expanding the weigh of non-subjective items that constituted the overall result.

The consultant contract tender for the light rail transit system also required candidates to draft an “integrity proposal” suggesting measures to prevent corruption which accounted for five percent of the final assessment score, the Secretary added.

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