The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) has chided the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry for “weak­nesses in con­tract man­age­ment” in­volv­ing the RM4 bil­lion 1Bes­tar­iNet pro­ject to pro­vide high-speed in­ter­net ac­cess for schools.

“PAC can­not ac­cept the r ea­sons sub­mit­ted by t he Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, that it was un­aware of a cir­cu­lar on value man­age­ment,” it said in a re­port tabled in the De­wan Rakyat yes­ter­day.

“An Eco­nomic Plan­ning Unit cir­cu­lar in 2009 had stated it was manda­tory for projects worth RM50 mil­lion and above to go through a “value man­age­ment process”.

“The 1Bes­tar­iNet pro­ject was not sub­jected to the process.

“PAC has de­cided that the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral’s Depart­ment (AGD) do a thor­ough fol­low-up au­dit re­lated to the mat­ters raised and to carry out rec­ti­fi­ca­tion as there are a l ot of doubt­ful ex­pen­di­tures,” it said.

“The PAC also wants the AGD t o con­duct a study on t he ef­fec­tive­ness in im­ple­ment­ing

the 1Bes­tar­iNet pro­ject.”

The com­mit­tee added that fur­ther scru­tiny should be given in or­der to “pro­tect gov­ern­ment in­ter­ests”.

PAC, which is led by Datuk Hasan Arifin (Umno-Rompin), will also be vis­it­ing all schools in­volved in the pro­ject in both cities and ru­ral ar­eas.

The 1Bes­tar­iNet pro­ject, ini­ti­ated in 2011, is ex­pected to take 15 years to com­plete at a cost of RM4.07 bil­lion in­volv­ing 10,000 schools.

The pro­ject aims to pro­vide high-speed 4G in­ter­net ac­cess at schools. Last year, the Au­di­torGen­eral’s Re­port found that the soft­ware and equip­ment were used by just 1% of stu­dents in the par­tic­i­pat­ing schools.

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