Muhyiddin recently appeared on a PAS platform in Kuala Terengganu to speak about 1MDB etc. He was invited on the capacity of a former Deputy Prime Minister before the formation of Parti Pribumi which he is a pro-tem President. Not once did he address the long-standing question from especially the PAS members – how much did he make from the 1BestariNet scandal?
PAS first asked this question back in April 2012. Mahfuz Omar of PAS asked then why was the project not given to known telecommunications players such as Telekom Malaysia, Celcom or TimeDotCom who would be able to provide better Internet backbone to support the project.
The 1BestariNet project is a RM4.077 billion project over 15 years to provide 4G Internet connectivity as well as virtual learning environment for 9,924 schools nationwide. YTL, a known favourite of Parti Pribumi’s founder Mahathir, secured a RM663 million package signed by Muhyiddin when he was the Minister of Education. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2015 concluded that the implementation of the First Phase of the project is a failure. Not even a project steering committee and project technical committee were established at ministry-level to ensure its smooth implementation.
Responding to the PAC report, Economic Advisor to the Concerned Social-Minded Association (Persatuan Minda Sosial Prihatin) Suud Ridzuan called for Muhyiddin, the then Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Education to step down to facilitate the investigation into the scandal.
“According to the PAC, this project is a failure. Why was there a need to spend so much for this program?” he asked. “I urge the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission to investigate.”
The BN-friendly portal www.pru14.tv also raised a few doubts about the project. They are among others:
- the installation of 1BestariNet Receiver Integrated System (1BRIS) communication towers that are supposed to transmit and receive high-speed wireless data in schools that do not have the appropriate LAN (Local Access Network) structure,
- the refusal by YTL to pay RM1,200 per month to the Ministry of Education (MoE) as recommended by the Property Valuation and Service Department for each 1BRIS site. The MoE has thus far bowed down to YTL by allowing them to pay RM1,000 for each 1BRIS site instead;
- the installation of the 1BRIS towers increased the electricity bill for each school by RM120 to RM150 monthly. With YTL’s refusal to pay the RM500 for each 1BRIS tower site, the MoE would have to fork out between RM5.77 million to RM6.92 million each year until the expiration of the contract.
The portal also alleged Muhyiddin’s son-in-law’s involvement in the project, an allegation that has gone unanswered by Muhyiddin.
Perhaps the MACC should seriously look into this issue as it has gone almost forgotten. Nabbing errant GLC office-holders may be a good thing, but letting a former senior Minister go free after hunderds of millions tangible rakyat‘s funds have been spent without tangible good results will not go down well with the majority.
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