YTL Comms: Free Internet services offered in 'good faith'

Its job scope for the contract involves supplying concrete cement and metal for the upgrading of the Train Cargo Terminal at Padang Besar, Perlis, Dolphin said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd has reiterated that it did not ask for any special preferences when it offered free Internet services to the Education Ministry while awaiting a fresh tender for the 1BestariNet contract.

In a statement issued today, the telco said it had offered in good faith and at the Ministry's request Internet services and the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (FrogVLE) at no charge to the Ministry from July 1 to Dec 31.

"The allegation that it is a 'hidden' cost is totally unfounded," it said in response to the Ministry's statement dated July 5.

According to the telco, the Ministry was aware it had to bear the cost of electricity supply to the telecommunications towers, which was clearly stated during YTL Communications' tender for the project 

"The Ministry had accepted this for both phase 1 and phase 2. In fact, the phase 2 agreement was signed in 2016 (after review and taking into account the Auditor General’s report in 2013)," it said.  

YTL Communications added that there would have been no loss of potential rental to the government as the telco would cover the cost of rental of the telecommunications towers as set by the Department of the Director General of Lands and Mines. It added that it did not rent out the towers to other telcos, and was the sole user of the facilities.

Furthermore, it said the contract would not have prevented the exploration of alternative technologies as claimed by the Ministry. 

"Switching the entire school system to 3 new ISPs that are providing technology similar to what was provided under phase 2 is not exploring new technology," it said.

On service issues claimed by the Ministry, the telco highlighted that it had met all bandwidth specifications as determined by the Ministry under the contract. It also claimed the existing FrogVLE education platform has more features than Google Classroom, which was identified as a replacement platform

Despite this, on June 27 the Ministry proceeded to award the Internet services for the interim period to Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata and Maxis without responding to YTL Communications' offer, it said.

"If  the  Ministry  had  accepted  our  offer  for  the  free  services  during  the  interim  period,  the Ministry  would  have  saved  millions,  prevented  disruption  to  the  schools  in  the  middle  of  the school  year,  as  well  as  had  the  time  to  conduct  a  tender  exercise  following  which  they  would have a  properly defined  solution  and  price."

YTL Communications added that it had not objected to the government's call for a fresh tender for the six months period in early 2019 despite a violation on the terms of its contract.

"The  process  by  which  each  phase  was  to  be  awarded  was  clearly  set  out  in  the project documents;  there  would  be  a  joint  review  on  performance,  changes  in  technology,  basic educational  needs  and  price  prior  to  the  expiry  of  each  phase  and  before  parties  reach agreement  on  the  next  phase," it said.

YTL Communications said a review would have identified the areas of improvement for the next phase, with pricing set against current market prices and clarity as to implementation.
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