Education ministry went back on internet tender offer, claims YTL

Three new internet providers have been chosen to provide services to schools from July 1. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd today said it was shocked that three other companies have been chosen to continue internet connectivity service for schools.

It said the education ministry had failed to include it in the bidding process.

This follows news of Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata and Maxis replacing YTL Communications as the interim internet service providers (ISP) from July 1 till Dec 31 this year.

YTL had been providing the service since 2011.

In a statement today, YTL said the education ministry announced last year that it would be calling for fresh tenders by early this year to continue providing internet connectivity to schools.

After repeated inquiries with the ministry on the status of the tender, the education ministry invited YTL, Telekom, Celcom, Maxis and other internet service providers for a meeting on April 23 this year.

“We were informed that they were ‘not ready for a tender for implementation on July 1’ when phase two of the contract with YTL was to expire.

“The meeting was informed that there would be a delay of another six months during which the 10,000 participating schools would continue to require interim internet services.

“The ministry requested that we provide free internet services as the government ‘did not have the budget’ to pay for these services,” YTL said.

It then wrote to Education Minister Maszlee Malik on May 31 to confirm that it would provide complete internet services for free and a virtual learning environment called Frog VLE for the interim period until the tender was awarded.

“Our primary concern was to ensure teaching in schools was not disrupted in the middle of the school year,” it said.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive any response to our offer.”

YTL claimed the ministry “reneged on its statement to call for an open tender and agreed to pay for the internet services to the three appointed ISPs although we had offered the services for free”.

“It was our legitimate expectation that we would be given an extension of the contract for the next phase.

“We view the ministry’s actions as being in breach of their contractual obligations to us.

“Disappointingly, they have not acted in good faith in respect to what we had been informed and what has actually been implemented.”

YTL’s 1BestariNet internet and learning arrangement for schools was aimed at improving the information communication technology system and the SchoolNet services in schools through 4G broadband connectivity and a virtual learning environment.

YTL was awarded the project in 2011 after an open tender. The project was divided into three phases, and would have seen the full adoption of digital teaching and learning in classrooms by January 2020.

Last July, the ministry said it would be calling for a fresh tender for the project, saying it was dissatisfied with the poor service provided by YTL.

YTL said, for the benefit of schools, it had decided to continue to make the Frog VLE learning system available and would allow teachers to retain the smartphones provisioned with data plans.

In the statement, YTL said changing the platform and starting all over again will set the entire education system backward by years.