Only 50% of computer labs ready

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 13 Jul 2003


TOKYO: Two years after the deadline to complete the first phase of the project to build computer laboratories in schools, only 50% have been completed. 

This, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Aziz Shamsuddin, had brought “shame” to the ministry and was a setback for the Government’s plan to provide Internet access to all schools as soon as possible. 

“I regret that the Supply and Development Division of the ministry has not been very responsible on this matter. It should have ensured that the first phase was completed according to schedule. 

“I am personally ashamed because as the body responsible for the implementation, we have failed badly in this matter,” he told Malaysian journalists here, adding that he did not rule out “corrupt practices” having caused the delays. 

Aziz was asked to comment on the statement by Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie in Kuala Lumpur on Friday that the Government was accelerating the process to prepare the infrastructure to provide Internet access to all schools to bridge the rural-urban digital divide. 

The deputy minister was among several government leaders who were in the entourage of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who was on a three-day visit to Japan from Wednesday. 

He reminded the responsible parties that he had not interfered directly on the matter and had only “advised” them, adding that this should not be taken as a weakness. 

He said the division should “buck up” and be more responsible in discharging its duties. 

Seven months after the final deadline on Dec 31 last year, only 1,200 of the 2,315 laboratories had been fully completed, he added. 

The project became an issue after five contractors failed to complete the labs they were supposed to have built by May 14, 2001. 

Following that, the ministry extended the deadline twice – Aug 14 and Dec 31, 2001 – after the contractors appealed citing several problems. 

However, until Jan 1, 2002, only 48 units of the labs were completed, forcing the ministry to cancel the contracts and offer them to other contractors. 

Aziz said the division should have acted against the contractors soon after they failed to complete the labs by Dec 31 as scheduled. 

“As far as I am concerned, it is easy. After failing to meet the deadline twice, the contracts should have been completed,” he said.  

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 7
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Across The Star Online