All geared up to contribute to the nation


A Reader from IRIS (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: Iris Corp Bhd is in talks with banks to raise funds for its RM1.16bil project to upgrade the country’s immigration system known as the National Integrated Immigration System (NIISe).

Last month, the group, which is engaged in technology consulting and the implementation of trusted identification and payment, announced that it has received a letter of award (LoA) from the Ministry of Home Affairs to develop and deliver the immigration system for a duration of 54 months from March 1,2021, until Aug 31,2025.

Iris’ group chief executive officer Shaiful Subhan said that under the NIISe project, the group will develop a whole new integrated system for the Immigration Department of Malaysia (JIM) to replace the current one that has been in existence for some time.

“It will include a host of the latest innovations in biometrics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, etc to modernise, digitise and bring best practices to our immigration operations, ” he told StarBiz.

The project, he said, is important for the country because NIISe will enable JIM to enhance the security of the country’s borders and future-proof Malaysia’s immigration system by using the latest technology and best practices.

“It is a new integrated and comprehensive back-end system, ” Shaiful said.

“We are presently engaging a few financial institutions for credit facilities to fund the project on a need basis, ” he added.

He, however, did not elaborate on the size of the funding that the group needed.

Among the terms of the LoA include Iris being required to furnish a performance bond for the sum of RM12.88mil to the Home Ministry within 30 days from the date of the LoA with validity period starting from March 1,2021, to Aug 31,2026

“The project will not have any effect on the issued and paid-up share capital, gearing and the shareholding of the substantial shareholders of Iris as it does not involve the issuance of ordinary shares in Iris, ” the company said.

Notably, the size of the NIISe contract is slightly bigger than Iris’ current market capitalisation of RM1.14bil based on its closing price of 38 sen on Thursday.

”We are confident that the project will contribute positively to the earnings of Iris during its tenure, ” Shaiful said, adding that the group would also need to appoint subcontractors for the project due to the wide scope of work.

“The project’s scope of work includes testing, designing, developing, supplying, delivery, assembly, integration, data migration and integrating the entire NIISe system, ” he said.

The NIISe project had attracted more than 30 bidders, including MyEG Services Bhd, Scicom MSC Bhd and Datasonic Group Bhd, to replace the existing Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMS).

The MyIMMS system, which was developed in 1993, was said to be obsolete.

In 2017, a RM3.5bil contract for the new immigration system to replace MyIMMS was initially awarded to Prestariang Bhd through a public private partnership (PPP) model under a 15-year concession period.

However, in December 2018, the contract was terminated because it was deemed too expensive.

In May 2019, a fresh tender was called with the NIISe project essentially being the new version of what was previously called the Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional (SKIN).

When asked about the difference between SKIN and NIISe, Shaiful said it is “not a direct comparison”.

“As an example, SKIN was a 15-year concession whilst the duration to complete and handover NIISe is 4.5 years, ” he said.

At 38 sens, the stock is down from its peak of 45 sen prior to the announcement.

However, its share price has almost doubled from last December when the company was seen as one of the top two front runners to bag the NIISe project.

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