AIM saga drags on – Tender $16.8 to $31.5m?

I refer to the article “three firms bid for PAP town councils IT contract” (Straits Times, Mar 13).

Tender bids $16.8 to $31.5m?

It states that “The estimated tender amounts to develop and maintain the computer systems range from $16.8 million to $31.5 million.”

How much for current system?

Despite widespread calls by Singaporeans for disclosure as to how much the town councils had paid for its current software system, there has been a deafening silence todate.

So, we can only guess what it cost, in light of the “$16.8 million to $31.5 million” being tendered now.

Sell and lease-back?

So, does it mean that a multi-million software’s IP rights was sold in 2010 for $$140,000 and then leased back to the town councils for  $165,030 ($785 x 12 months x 14 town councils + $33,150)?

Why sell and lease-back, when apparently there was actually no need to do so or pay previously?

Tender qualifications?

As to “The three companies have a sizeable presence in the local IT industry” – isn’t it a stark contrast to AIM, which was a $2 company with arguably hardly any presence or experience in the local IT industry?

Government supplier registration guidelines?

With regard to “The latest tender requires the firms to have an annual turnover of at least $10 million and a paid-up capital of at least $1.5 million. This is under the S9 financial grade of the government supplier registration guidelines”, was “the S9 financial grade of the government supplier registration guidelines” applied to Aim, which had paid-up capital of $2 and annual turnover of $58,338 (Consultancy services revenue $57,057 & Interest income $1,281) in 2000 and $1,885 (Interest income) in 1999 – which I understand were the last two years of publicly available accounts filed with ACRA?

To bid or not to bid?

In respect of “AIM, ehich reportedly has a paid-up capital of $2, had earlier decided it would not take part as it helped the town councils prepare the tender documents” – why did it say earlier that “Aim chairman Chandra Das also did not want to reveal whether the IT company had – or would – put in a bid. “Wait and see,” he would only say.” – is this not somewhat self-contradictory?

Aim review overdue?

By the way, the Aim Review may be overdue, as about nine weeks have lapsed and it was said that the review would take about one to two months.

Develop new system?

Finally, in view of the large tender amount, shouldn’t the town councils’ residents be given more information as to why it is necessary now to develop a new software system? At such huge costs, how does it compare to the non PAP town councils’ software?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.