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What’s The Issue About Asia Mobiliti, A Member Of Parliament And Selangor? Here’s The Skinny

What’s The Issue About Asia Mobiliti, A Member Of Parliament And Selangor? Here’s The Skinny

Asia Mobiliti is one of the two companies awarded the contract to run the Selangor demand-responsive transport (DRT) project. The other is Badanbas Coach Sdn Bhd.

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As it stands, only two companies in Malaysia have the expertise to run the Selangor transport project.

One was Asia Mobility Technologies Sdn Bhd (Asia Mobiliti) while the other was Badanbas Coach Sdn Bhd. Since there were only two, awarding an open tender would mean a monopoly situation.

Thus, both companies were granted the opportunity to run a nine-month based proof of concept for a transit project in the Klang Valley. Both companies also received equal allocations of RM2.1 million each to subsidise bus users during the proof-of-concept implementation period.

Selangor Investment, Trade and Mobility Committee chairperson Ng Sze Han said the payments were disbursed in three phases to prevent misuse of state funds.

Asia Mobiliti was appointed in October last year and it’s in its seventh month of running the project.

What’s the issue surrounding Asia Mobiliti?

Unfortunately, Asia Mobiliti is facing accusations of preferential treatment. Why? This is because Asia Mobiliti’s CEO is Ramachandran Muniandy, the husband of Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh.

Yeoh has since said she would leave the investigation regarding her husband’s company’s appointment by the Selangor government to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Meanwhile, Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said the state government is open to disclosing the details of Asia Mobiliti’s appointment.

He also explained that Asia Mobiliti and Badanbas Coach Sdn Bhd were the only firms approved for the pilot project by the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD).

Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Kumpool Sdn Bhd will be invited to submit proposals after getting approval from APAD.

MACC previously stated there was nothing wrong with Asia Mobiliti’s appointment since Yeoh’s ministry did not award it. However, MACC said it will investigate fresh leads on Friday (31 May).

Asia Mobiliti provides the demand-responsive transport (DRT) service to help solve the first and last-mile issues faced by commuters using public transport. Image for illustration purposes. Image: TRP File

What service is Asia Mobiliti providing in Selangor?

Due to the accusations, Ramachandran and his co-founder Premesh Chandran, a former CEO of Malaysiakini, spoke to BFM Radio to address the issue and clear some air.

Premesh said Asia Mobiliti was not a company that was recently set up. The company has been in the industry for years and has won and lost some tenders along the way.

Regarding the project for Selangor, Premesh told BFM that the service Asia Mobiliti is providing is called demand-responsive transport (DRT). Through DRT, users can book transportation via an app and the service operates within a zone that’s usually nearby an LRT or MRT.

Users will be picked up from their apartment and can travel anywhere within a vicinity like a shopping mall or LRT for a fixed price.

In other words, Asia Mobiliti provides a service that attempts to solve the first and last-mile issues faced by commuters.

The public is urged to focus on the facts

According to Free Malaysia Today, Premesh said if he wasn’t part of Asia Mobiliti, he would have also asked similar questions regarding the company’s appointment.

He added that while he understood the concerns, he said the public should focus on the facts regarding the company’s selection.

This was echoed by Ramachandran, who said the public should take into account the company’s capabilities and track record in solving transport woes. He said the company has proven to have the expertise and obtained its license through due process.

(It’s as if critics are saying) we don’t care how good you are, we want to see who you’re married to. They don’t care whether or not we can do the job…what kind of logic is this?

Asia Mobiliti CEO, Ramachandran Muniandy

Is there a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when an individual’s personal interests or loyalties interfere with their professional duties or responsibilities.

According to lawyer Tisya Yunus, Yeoh was not in a position of power or the capacity to grant the contract. The purview and capacity to grant the contract belonged to the Selangor government.

As such, she said these allegations concerning the issue of the conflict of interest are without merit or basis. In addition, the contract awarded has no correlation or connection with Yeoh’s ministry. However, this does not mean there are no other issues at play.

Nevertheless, this issue drives home the need to rethink how we award contracts. In this case, there could be no open tender and the process was done via a request for proposal, not direct negotiation as initially alleged by reports. There is a call to make public tenders and for decisions to be made transparently moving forward.

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