Photo of Khaw Boon Wan from Straits Times

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has again awarded a tender to the lowest bidder, and this time, the Seletar Bus Package to SBS Transit who outbid it’s nearest competitor, SMRT, by S$34 million. With a low-ball bid of S$480 million, SBS Transit won the bus service package to service 26 bus services operating from Seletar Bus Depot.

According to the LTA press release, the award was decided by “greater weightage on quality”:

“All tender submissions were evaluated based on the same set of criteria through a two-envelope process which looked at quality and price factors.  With greater weightage given to the quality proposals submitted by tenderers, the price envelopes were only opened after the quality evaluation was completed.”

Screenshot from LTA website

There has however been speculations of foul play in the tender process as the two state-owned companies, SMRT and SBS Transit, somehow managed to land the lowest bids, while everyone else bid S$26 million to S$69 million higher. The result dented foreign investor’s confidence, with one company telling States Times Review that they will not bid for Singapore’s public transport tender again because “it may not be worthwhile”to compete against state-owned companies.

In July 2017, a part of a construction bridge in Changi collapsed killing one and injuring ten foreign workers. The construction company whose directors are PAP grassroots leaders cronies won the project with a notably lowest bid at S$100 million, or 29% lower than it’s closest bidder.