YTL clarifies expectations for 1BestariNet contract

PETALING JAYA: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd has clarified that it was not expecting an extension of the 1BestariNet contract, but was relying on the Malaysian government to hold an open tender for the service.

In a statement to the local media, YTL Communications said it was supportive of the government’s initial call for a new open tender for the contract, the winner of which would provide Internet connectivity to the country’s schools from July 1, 2019.

However, it added that the Education Ministry had not called for an open tender for the contract in addition to failing to meet its obligations for the original contract.

"The tender would provide price transparency and assure the public that the best price and specifications would be obtained through the process.

“After all, YTL Communications had won the 2011 open tender in the face of fierce competition from 18 companies, including all the large telcos in the country,” it said.

To recap, YTL Communications had secured the 1BestariNet contract in 2011 to provide Internet connectivity and a virtual learning platform to the 10,000 schools in the country for a period of 15 years.

The contract was to be implemented in rolling phases with a joint review on performance, changes in technology, basic educational needs and price prior to the expiry of each phase.

"As to whether the terms of the contract were attractive or not, it was objectively the best that the ministry had obtained via an open tender involving 19 companies.

“On the part of YTL Communications, we had in reliance on the terms of the tender and the contract, invested extensively in infrastructure for the 15-year term of the project,” it said.

However, in July 2018, the newly appointed Deputy Education Minister had announced that the ministry would be calling for a fresh tender by early 2019.

On April 23, the Ministry then informed that there would be a six-month delay to the tender and several telcos including YTL Communications were asked to offer free Internet services in the interim period.

Following this, YTL Communications offered its services for free but did not receive a response from the MInistry, it said.

YTL Communications said that it did not expect that on June 27, the ministry would announce the award of Internet services to schools  for the interim period to Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd and Maxis Bhd without calling for a tender.

“We do not propose to address the reasons proffered by the ministry at the press conference here.

“Suffice to say that these reasons were never communicated to us despite many attempts to meet the minister and the secretary general. These justifications are ex post facto,” said YTL Communications.

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