Company Slams Tender Process For New Rangoon Business District

By Tin Htet Paing 10 December 2015

RANGOON — With construction of a new business district in Rangoon’s north slated to begin next year, an unsuccessful bidder has slammed the tender process for the project that has been in the works since 2013.

PATTKO Global Development Company claimed that the tender selection committee, assembled by the commercial capital’s municipal body, lacked experts and called for the process to be reviewed.

Tin Hlaing, managing director of PATTKO, told media at a press conference in Rangoon on Wednesday that the tender selection committee did not include any engineering or architectural experts and had therefore failed to competently assess competing bids.

“For such a project which is very important for the country, they selected a developer company without any experts from related fields,” Tin Hlaing said.

PATTKO was among five companies shortlisted to operate the project, known as the Mindhama Secondary Central Business District (CBD). The over 36 acre project, located in Rangoon’s Mayangone Township, is slated to include hotels, convention centers, galleries, theatres, cinema halls, shopping malls and high-rise buildings, including office space.

According to the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) which oversaw the tender, the new CBD would relieve congestion in the city’s bustling downtown area. The project’s location formerly hosted the Mindhama plant nursery that has been forced to relocate.

YCDC announced the tender in state-owned newspapers in September 2013, stipulating that foreign companies and joint ventures could apply. First Myanmar Construction, a subsidiary of Myanmar V-Pile Group of Companies, was announced as the successful developer in August 2014.

According to Tin Hlaing, the locally-owned winning firm does not fulfill the tender’s criteria and the committee’s reasoning for the selection was deficient.

PATTKO said it had delayed raising the issue as it did not want to create tension before last month’s general election.

The company had attempted to convince lawmakers in the Rangoon Division parliament to reconsider the process shortly after the winning bid was announced, Tin Hlaing said, but had not heard back.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, Nay Win, deputy head of the YCDC’s Engineering Department (Buildings), said the tender selection committee had not included experts from either the Association of Myanmar Architects (AMA) or the Myanmar Engineering Council as it was tendered by the YCDC, not the Rangoon Divisional government.

However, Sun Oo, president of the AMA, told The Irrawaddy that the municipal body had previously involved the AMA in selection processes but it was not consulted for the new CBD.

“If experts could participate in selection and advisory processes for such projects they could suggest the best option for the country and the public, in line with international standards,” he said.

“If not, it’s the public who is going to suffer at the end of the day if there are any weak points in the project.”

Tin Hlaing called on the YCDC to review the process.

“As it’s an international tender, we want the YCDC to reconsider the tender process according to international standards, which means to reorganize the selection committee together with experts who want real benefits for the country and the public,” he said.

According to a report in the Myanmar Times last month, First Myanmar Construction is awaiting final approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission before work can begin in 2016.

Last year, local authorities faced a tide of criticism after the Rangoon Division government announced it had awarded a massive city expansion project to little known company Myanmar Say Ta Nar Myothit. The company, which has since had its contract revoked, had close ties with Rangoon Division chief minister Myint Swe.