Contractor Clarence Chua has called out Government e-bidding system GeBIZ for possibly contributing to the Changi viaduct collapse, this Friday, that killed 1 foreign worker and injured 10 others.
GeBIZ is an online portal where contractors can log on and bid for government contracts. Chua highlighted that GeBIZ’s practice of posting the prices of all bids entered and the price of the winning bid for each contract online may lead contractors to cut corners as it has been revealed that the lowest bids overwhelmingly wins jobs.
“If you are a hungry contractor and have lost the bid, you now know what a winning price looks like. For a similar future job, you know what price you need to enter to potentially win it. And it would likely be lower than the previous winning price.”
Chua shared that he knows this because he has done the same thing countless time over the past 7 years: “My winning bids have consistently fallen over the years. The irony is that as my experience and quality climb (together with my cost), my rates and profit fall.”
Including a picture that shows that the winning bid for a contract is the lowest of all bids entered and half of the highest bid, Chua asserted:
“What do you do to secure profit margin in this case? You cut corners. You do things the expedient way. Then to move on from your paltry profit, you take on more and more jobs — each one lower-paying than the one before.”
He suggested that the Government should reconsider publicly announcing the price of the winning bid to vendors.
Since the viaduct collapse on Friday, it has come to light that the contractors, Kim Peow Contractors Pte Ltd, have a prior record of workplace safety lapses in the past, where in one case just two years ago in 2015, a worker died and three others were injured when a platform they were working on at the Yio Chu Kang Flyover collapsed.
On that incident, the Ministry of Manpower said that this was a “clear case of a company that does not take workplace safety seriously.” As of 3 July, the group had accumulated 25 demerit points and was blacklisted from January-April 2017, according to information from MOM’s website.