Change of Immigration DG nothing to do with axing RM3.5 billion contract, says Muhyiddin

Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today rubbished claims that the change of the Immigration director-general was connected to the government’s decision to cancel the National Immigration Control System (SKIN) concession agreement worth RM3.5 billion.

Responding to a report by news portal Malaysiakini, Muhyiddin said it was a “malicious and false” claim to suggest that the government was attempting to award the contract to a company related to a senior ministry officer.

“It may have been done on purpose by those who are not happy with the decision to cancel the SKIN project as agreed to by the Cabinet,” he said in a statement today.

The SKIN project by Prestariang SKIN Sdn Bhd (PSSB) was approved by the previous government through direct negotiations.

Muhyiddin said he had ordered a review of the project by a special committee, in line with Pakatan Harapan’s policy of reassessing high-value projects approved by its predecessor.

He said the committee had found weaknesses in the concession agreements and implementation of the project, including terms which benefited the company rather than the government, the high cost of the project and its limited scope.

“Based on these factors, the committee recommended that the concession agreement with PSSB be terminated and a new system, Sistem Imigresen Malaysia Bersepadu, be developed instead,” he said, adding that this new system would, through open tender, save RM1 billion.

Muhyiddin said this was brought to the Cabinet’s attention for a decision on Nov 30. The Cabinet agreed to terminate PSSB’s contract and to allow the development of a new system through open tender.

“Presently, the home ministry is still developing the scope and specifications of the new system and, in line with the Cabinet’s decision, the procurement for this project will be done through open tender.”

He added that the final tender document is only expected to be ready by April. Until now, he said, no company had been awarded any project as claimed in the report.

“The recommendation by my ministry was made with careful consideration and brought to the Cabinet four times. It was not simply done.”

Muhyiddin added that he would never compromise over corruption and abuse of power, saying his ministry would cooperate fully with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in any investigation.

“I will also not bow to any efforts to sabotage the government by anyone who makes false and baseless claims,” he said.