Thursday, June 7, 2012

PKR: WWW 15 gift to Liow shows ‘collapse’ in RTD tender system

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s claim that he had been given the WWW 15 vehicle registration number for free shows a “collapse” in the Road Transport Department’s (RTD) open tender system, PKR said today.

Pressing for more answers in the unravelling saga, PKR investment and trade chairman Wong Chen asked why the RTD was willing to forego revenue of RM24,200 for the plate, adding that this move would have also shortchanged other bidders for the WWW 15 and for other plate numbers.

“Even the Sultan of Johor had to pay for his plate number,” he pointed out at a press conference here.

The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar, beat close to 10,000 bidders to win the tender for the registration number WWW 1, with a record-setting bid of RM520,000.

Wong said the RTD, which comes under the Transport Ministry, does not have the discretionary power to arbitrarily distribute free number plates to selected individuals.

The directive would have to come from the minister, whom Wong pointed out was Liow’s colleague in MCA, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha. Liow is the party’s deputy president.

“As such, RTD needs to explain to the public whether the instructions to forego the revenue came from within the RTD or came directly from the Transport Ministry.

“We also note that Kong, MCA’s secretary-general, is the current minister. We sincerely hope that this is not a case of one minister helping another,” he said.

In an apparent attempt last night to end public scrutiny over his WWW 15 number, Liow tweeted that the RTD had given it to him for free.

“I have received official notification from RTD that the number plate is free. There is no payment involved. Any further Qs pls refer to RTD.TQ,” Liow said in a posting on his microblogging account.

The health minister’s response, however, only further deepened the mystery, raising questions over why WWW 15 was valued at RM24,200 in the first place on the RTD’s website.

Wong pointed out that if the number was meant to be given away for free under the government’s directive, there would not have been any need for Liow to bid for it, as indicated on the website.

Furthermore, under the RTD’s open tender system, any individual making such a bid would have to fill up the RTD’s “MV 10” form, attach a copy of his identity card and “personally” sign the document.

“In addition, the applicant must include a bank draft for half the value of the bid. The process is deliberate, personal, involving banking activity and therefore can only be done with the full knowledge and participation of the applicant.

“For Liow to say he had no hand in processing the bid... is illogical and strange,” said Wong.

According to the “MV10” form emailed out to reporters today, an agency or body can bid on behalf of an individual but Wong said that the application should then name the Health Ministry instead of Liow.

Before claiming that WWW 15 was given to him for free, Liow had at first said yesterday that he was not sure who paid the RM24,200 for the registration number.

He however confirmed that the Health Ministry did not pay for the bid but defended himself by saying that the “process (of bidding) was handled by JPJ (RTD).”

Pressed for answers over who paid for the bid, Liow said “not sure, I have to check”.

“All ministers are eligible for one number; I didn’t exercise the option earlier,” Liow had said.

“Numbers to me are not important; what is more important is service to the people,” he added.

Thousands of people had thronged the three Kuala Lumpur RTD branches to place their bids for the coveted WWW numbers.

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