Dialogue aims to open up Malaysian procurement

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Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), 28 June 2023 – To help achieve the Malaysian Government's announcement of a new Procurement Act with extensive consultation and public input, the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) brought together key stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament for a three-day introductory procurement dialogue this week.

"Having Finance Ministry representatives engaged in mutual dialogue with procurement stakeholders is an important step in making the journey of developing the best possible procurement system based on principles of transparency and integrity for Malaysia achievable," said Pushpan Murugiah, Acting CEO of the C4 Center.

Participants identified good practices that should be included in a draft Procurement Bill – Freedom of Information provisions; extensive and diverse consultations; media engagement; harmonization between State and Federal procurement processes; effective and robust e-procurement systems, among others.

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"Participants shared experiences and policy thinking on the public procurement challenges and gaps, and how to align reforms with article 9 (Public procurement and management of public finances) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)," said Ms Annika Wythes, UNODC Southeast Asia and Pacific Anti-Corruption Adviser.

The C4 Center  has also been actively engaged with officials from the Ministry of Finance to look at drafting a comprehensive Procurement Act. The many inputs that were received during the past three days will provide strong starting points in terms of identifying core baseline principles in the drafting of Procurement Bill that takes into account the views and expectations of the many stakeholders. The C4 Center urges the government to follow through with the tabling of the Procurement Act, as announced by the Prime Minister at the next parliamentary sitting. They also reiterate their readiness to continuously engage with relevant government agencies, such as the Finance Ministry and the Legal Affairs Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, to assist in drafting a strong Bill that sufficiently addresses the current loopholes and shortcomings of the public procurement system.

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The Malaysian procurement dialogue is part of UNODC's integrity work under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Parliamentary - Civic Partnership Project. This is in partnership with East-West Management Institute, Inc. (EWMI) and the Parliamentary Centre of Asia (PCAsia).