MoE denies breaching contract in 1BestariNet

The education ministry says YTLC’s offer was rejected because of hidden costs and YTLC never paid the electricity charges for telecommunication towers installed in schools. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: The education ministry today denied it breached contractual obligations pertaining to YTL Communications Sdn Bhd’s (YTLC) contract as a service provider for the 1BestariNet project.

Education ministry secretary-general Mohd Gazali Abas said based on the agreement, the YTLC service contract had expired on June 30 and was not terminated by the ministry.

He said YTLC was awarded the contract for the first phase of 1BestariNet for the period of Dec 13, 2011 to June 30, 2016, including a seven-time contract extension before the second phase contract from July 1, 2016 to June 30 this year.

“Hence, the claim that the ministry had breached contractual obligations and had terminated the contract is unfair and not true,” he told a press conference here.

On the allegation that the company’s offer to provide a complete solution of free internet service and Frog VLE for the interim period until the new tender was called was rejected, Gazali said the ministry had also rejected the offer of several other companies.

It included the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) to provide internet service to 10,000 schools during the interim period, he said.

“During the eight years of service, we know the advantages and disadvantages of YTLC, and that’s why we will use this interim period to explore new technologies offered by other telecommunication companies.

“Among other things, YTLC’s offer was rejected because of hidden costs and YTLC never paid the electricity charges for telecommunication towers installed in schools,” he said.

For example, Gazali said the ministry had to bear the cost of the electricity bill of RM41 million involving 2,715 telecommunication tower sites when in fact it should be paid by the company.

He added that there was potential that the government would lose a commercial rental income of RM32 million a year if the service was continued.

However, due to its accountability, the ministry had approved YTLC’s application for the company’s commercial users to remain using its transmitter in the school areas for three months until Sept 30, he said.

Gazali stressed that all actions taken pertaining to 1BestariNet were for the best interests of the teachers, students and schools in providing quality teaching and learning systems, as well as optimising the country’s financial resources.