4As calls out Telekom Malaysia’s procurement policy as flawed for the shortlisting of agencies

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4As calls out Telekom Malaysia’s procurement policy as flawed for the shortlisting of agencies

The 4As Malaysia is challenging Telekom Malaysia (TM) on its current procurement policy for shortlisting of Advertising Agencies with Khairudin Rahim, CEO of 4As Malaysia, calling attention to TM’s unjustifiable Tender Document Fee and Tender Deposit.


Telekom Malaysia is currently conducting three separate tenders for the appointment of Panel Agencies for their “Creative Partner,” “Digital Partner” and “Below The Line Partner.”

Khairudin Rahim, CEO of 4As Malaysia, says the latest point of contention involves TM’s condition where 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 tender requirement.

He said the 4As finds it odd that Agencies today have to pay a Tender Document Fee of between RM1,000 to RM 5,000 for the first phase of the tender process in order to be allowed to send Agency information covering commercial and technical requirements such as its organization details, case studies, conflict mitigation protocol, ethics compliance and financial documents to TM.

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.

All Agencies who choose to submit tender documents in the first phase must also submit a refundable Tender Deposit to TM of between RM5,000 to RM20,000. Thereafter, shortlisted Agencies will be invited to pick up the Request For Proposal (RFP) and will then need to submit their customized strategy, creative work and financial proposals.

Rahim said when asked by Agencies as to the need of the two tender conditions, TM replied that “these are to ensure that only Agencies of ‘acceptable standards’ will be shortlisted and not waste the time of their evaluation panel.”

In written appeals, the 4As have highlighted that TM in the first phase has already in place a meticulous internal screening process led by their own eminently qualified and experienced marketers entrusted to shortlist potential Agencies with a proven effectiveness and creativity track record.

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.

Rahim said these two tender conditions are therefore redundant. They might be acceptable only if TM’s mandatory screening process led by their marketers is not administered.

“The 4As is of the opinion that this aspect of TM’s procurement policy is flawed. The 4As is surprised and disappointed that despite two written appeals and the sound reasoning provided, TM has chosen to maintain the two conditions citing that these are “part of TM’s procurement policy.” No counter arguments to the 4As rationales were offered,” said Rahim.

The 4As has sent a third appeal repeating its rationales for the two conditions to be removed for all three tenders involving Advertising Agencies now and in the future.

“The 4As looks forward to the elimination of unreasonable procurement policies placed on Agencies and is always ready to provide assistance and best practice guidance to Agencies and Marketers,” states Rahim.