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Tender for Yangon Traffic Control System Draws Ire

Yangon traffic police car signal automobile transport

Yangon Regional Government drew backlash after awarding China Railway and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co the right to implement a central traffic controller system out of five total shortlisted companies.

The tender which was floated last July, drew 32 applicants from which the final four joint ventures were selected in late last year. Afterwards, a joint venture between China Railway and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co was announced as the winner.

The other three companies who made it into the final list voiced their objection citing security concerns for Yangon City.

“The Chinese state-owned company is a railway construction company and their local partner, Myanmar Shwe Yin, is a trading company. From the perspective of tech companies like ourselves, we don’t understand [why they are chosen]. What we planned to do was buy international software and run the operation with our own engineers. Now, a Chinese state-owned company is going to control the system for a whole five years,” U Thein Aung, director of Vanguard Engineering Solution, said.

However, U Min Oo, the chair of the Yangon Computer Professionals Association, also a member of the tender selection committee, said the security concerns are unfounded.

“Many people worry about the security of their daily life because the Chinese company will control the Yangon traffic system. But there is actually no need to worry. We control the process according to the contract between the government and the company. We also have laws and rules about that.”

Aiming to alleviate Yangon’s traffic congestion, Upper House Parliament member U Phone Myint Aung submitted a motion to address the issue by installing a traffic control system in July last year. Subsequently, the President’s Office allocated K20 billion from the presidential budget for the installation and operation of such a system. Then the regional government sponsored the tender process.

“I asked the regional government whether the process is fair and correct. When they answered, they didn’t reveal the pricing of the bidders and said it was confidential. I find this lacking transparency,” U Phone Myint Aung said. Several calls to the Ministry of Transport by Myanmar Business Today about the tender process were unreturned.

He added that he is sad to see only three companies among the 19 bidding companies openly complaining. U Phone Myint Aung assumes that other companies do not want to be at odds with the government.

The companies that objected the tender award are Vanguard Technology, which is partnering with a Taipei-based company, KTK Technology, which partnering with a counterpart from the US, and Amber Star Technology, which is partnering with Samsung. They said they were not informed about what technology and what budget the winning company will operate within to implement the system.

“In the public eye, it’s just a traffic control system. In reality, every inch of the city will be monitored. Allowing a foreign state-owned company to operate such a system is risky for the safety of Yangon. Only tech-savvy people know how much risk this carries,” U Kyaw Soe Oo, director of Amber Star Company, said.

The government’s plan for the central traffic control system entails installing more than 600 closed-circuit television cameras in more than 150 traffic lights which will be automatically controlled. The implementation phase will start within six months after the tender.

“We made recommendations on the four shortlisted company based on the proposals and how they are going to operate. The government does the selection, not us,” U Aung Myint, another member of the tender evaluation committee and vice president of Myanmar Computer Association, told Myanmar Business Today.

The joint venture between China CCRC and Myanmar Shwe Yin Co have to implement the traffic control system before March 31. If not, they will be fined K100,000 per day, according to U Saw Htun Aung Myint, the leader of the tender selection committee.

At present, Myanmar Shwe Yin is starting preparations to implement the system. The central controller unit will be based on Pyidaungsu road near the Thai Embassy.

Author: Zin Thu Tun | 31 March, 2016 14:12 pm | Vol 4 Issue 13
Credit : Myanmar Business Today

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