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TM to retain tender requirements in immediate term despite being called out by 4As

TM to retain tender requirements in immediate term despite being called out by 4As

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Telekom Malaysia (TM) has acknowledged the concerns recently raised by 4As Malaysia concerning its tender document fee and tender deposit. The telco told A+M in a statement that it will in the immediate term retain its tender requirements, which aligns with standard industry practices in tender processing.

TM was recently called out by the 4As for requiring agencies to pay a non-refundable tender document fee of up to RM5,000 and a refundable tender deposit of up to RM20,000 per tender is part of its requirement. In a statement yesterday, 4As CEO Khairudin Rahim called the tender document fee and tender deposit "unjustifiable", adding that TM's procurement policy is "flawed". TM is currently conducting three separate tenders for the appointment of panel agencies for creative partner, digital partner, and below-the-line partner. 

The telco has since explained to A+M that these tender requirements extend to all agencies, and not only those registered under 4As. It added that the tender fee and tender deposit are not requirements for agencies to attend TM’s tender briefings, and agencies are also not required to purchase tender documents ahead of briefings. In compliance with TM’s procurement policies, agencies are only requested to sign non-disclosure agreements and non-solicitation undertakings when attending TM’s tender briefings.

TM’s policies and processes ensure agencies that support our projects and programmes reflect the highest levels of professionalism, quality and commitment.

"Strong, scalable and resourceful partners and vendors translate to a positive impression on our customers and their experiences with our brand, solutions and services," the telco explained. TM added that it remains committed to ensuring equal and fair opportunities, as well as transparency in all its undertakings.

Meanwhile, Khairudin previously said that the 4As finds it odd that agencies today have to pay a tender document fee of between RM1,000 to RM5,000 for the first phase of the tender process. "Tender document fees are historically a token charge from the advertiser to recover photocopying costs of documents containing detailed tender specifications and information required from the tenderer. This was in the era before the use of digitally transmitted documents," Khairudin said.

According to the 4As, TM had the two tender conditions because it wanted to ensure that "only agencies of 'acceptable standards' will be shortlisted and not waste the time of their evaluation panel".

However, the 4As pointed out that TM in the first phase has already enforced a meticulous internal screening process led by its own eminently qualified and experienced marketers entrusted to shortlist potential agencies with a proven effectiveness and creativity track record.

Khairudin also explained that the two tender conditions have no correlation to whether the interested agency is of acceptable standards. "An agency who from the onset is willing to subject itself to TM’s tender document fee and tender deposit will not necessarily meet TM’s standards. The mandatory screening conducted by TM’s marketers will," he said.

Khairudin added that the two tender conditions are redundant and that they might be acceptable only if TM’s mandatory screening process led by their marketers is not administered. Prior to TM's latest response, the 4As had sent a third appeal repeating its rationales for the two tender conditions to be removed for all three tenders involving ad agencies now and in the future.

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