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PAC will call witnesses to explain 1Bestarinet project issues

PAC will call witnesses to explain 1Bestarinet project issues
NUR JAZLAN: PAC would also seek clarification from the Lands and Mines Department on the issue. - File Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will call several witnesses to provide an explanation over the weaknesses in the first phase implementation of the 1BestariNet Service project by the education
ministry, involving funds worth RM663 million.

PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said among individuals who would be called to explain were a former ministry secretary-general, former officer from the project's management office and former education director-general.
"This is because they were the officers involved when the project was first implemented in 2011. We may call them to give their statements next month," he told reporters after PAC's second term meeting at the Parliament House today.

He said in today's meeting, Education Ministry Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad had given an explanation on the issue but it was not in detail as she was not in the ministry when the first phase of the project was implemented.
"Dr Madinah joined the Ministry of Education in 2013, but the initiative to implement this project was in 2011. It is not fair to her," he added.

Nur Jazlan said PAC would also seek clarification from the Lands and Mines Department on the issue.

He said among the weaknesses identified in the implementation of the first phase of the project based on the National Audit Department's report were delays in providing internet connection to users' sites, and that a project steering committee and project technical committee were not established at ministry-level.

Studies on the needs of schools were not conducted, and feedback from schools found that the performance of broadband internet access was not satisfactory, he noted.

Nur Jazlan said the 1BestariNet project was being implemeneted in three phases over a 15-year period, costing RM4.077 billion.

"Each phase spans five years...In the first phase, the implementation of 1BestariNet is considered a failure," he added.

Nur Jazlan said the 1BestariNet project was an initiative of the education ministry, in collaboration with YTL Communications Sdn Bhd to replace and upgrade the information and communication technology (ICT) systems in schools.

He said the project involved 10,000 schools which were equipped with high-speed internet and access to world-class integrated education solutions.

Meanwhile, commenting on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue, Nur Jazlan said the committee would help the National Audit Department in the investigations.

He said PAC was expected meet with Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang next week to discuss the scope and timing of its work to prevent any overlapping investigation on the matter.

"It may leave us an opportunity to start our hearing earlier." Depending on the scope that the A-G had set previously, Nur Jazlan said it might involve many issues and international witnesses among others, which might take a long time.

"We understand the public demands a quick answer but we do not want to rush into things and come up with our conclusion, which are not professionally derived.