The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found the Education Ministry guilty of contract mismanagement in their RM4 billion 1BestariNet project for schools. It wants the Auditor General (A-G) Department to undertake a second review of the 1BestariNet project, according to media reports.
The 1Bestarinet project for school is manged by YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (Yes4G) and FrogAsia Sdn Bhd, both a YTL company.
1BestariNet, which involved all 10,000 schools nationwide (reaching 5,000,000 students, 500,000 teachers and 4,500,000 parents), had come under fire from both the AG and PAC for having failed to deliver on time.
Initiated in March 2011, the project would have cost RM4bil over 15 years, and was supposed to provide 4G broadband connectivity (powered by Yes4G) and virtual learning environment (VLE) to the schools. TheStar reported that the Ministry of Finance approved only RM663mil for a period of 30 months.
In 2014, it was reported that YTL Communications Sdn Bhd was fined RM2.4 million by the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MoE) for failing to provide all 10,000 schools with the 1BestariNet e-learning project. At that time, YTL had yet to equip 1,003 schools with the service as it had not obtained a permit for the construction of telecommunications towers, specifically in Sarawak, Penang and Kelantan.
Back then, the A-G said that 89.1% of the schools surveyed and feedback received by the schools found that 1BestariNet coverage does not cover the school’s entire compound and total Internet speeds up to 4Mbps was unsatisfactory. The A-G report also noted that usage of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) by teachers, students and parents was said to be between 0.01% and 4.69% only. The VLE is powered by FrogAsia.
In a report tabled at the Dewan Rakyat today, the PAC found the reasoning given by the Education Ministry unacceptable.
“The issue which was raised is from weakness in contract management.
“The Parliament PAC cannot accept the reason submitted by the Education Ministry that it was not aware on the value management lab circular,” the report read, referring to an Economic Planning Unit (EPU) 2009 circular that makes it mandatory for projects worth RM50 million and above to go through a “value management process”.
The PAC found that the 1BestariNet project did not go through that process.
The committee also recommended for the Auditor General’s Department to have a follow-up audit on the project.
“PAC has decided that the Auditor-General’s Department [carry] out a thorough follow-up audit related to the matters raised and to carry out rectification as there are a lot of doubtful expenditures.
“The PAC also wants the Auditor-General’s Department to carry out a study on the effectiveness in implementing the 1BestariNet project,” the PAC said.
The PAC added that further scrutiny should be given in order to “protect government importance”.