Corruption not ruled out, says Abdul Aziz


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 27 Jul 2003

BY GAVIN GOMEZ

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Education Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin has not ruled out elements of corruption as being the cause for delays and the shoddy workmanship in the construction of school computer laboratories. 

“Public funds must be put to good use. To dispel suspicion that corruption is at the root of the matter, certain quarters must investigate the matter thoroughly,” he said. 

Asked if the ministry would review the process of appointments of contractors to carry out its projects, Abdul Aziz said, he was certain that Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad would look into the matter. 

“The construction of computer laboratories is an Education Ministry endeavour, thus any problems related to it should be blamed on the ministry,” he said after officially opening Bangunan Puan Sri Datin Seri Kai Yong Yeoh, a new block at SM Assunta here yesterday. 

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said last week that he had instructed the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to find out if any irregularities or misuse of power had occurred. 

This followed a Cabinet decision on Wednesday to terminate the services of Bell Grand Sdn Bhd, the contractor responsible for building computer labs in the east coast and have the Public Works Department (PWD) take over the task. 

Musa had said the delay was the fault of Bell Grand and the ministry’s project management consultant, QSC Projects Sdn Bhd. 

In Batu Pahat, Johor ACA director Abdul Razak Idris said only eight out of 136 computer labs had been completed in schools in the state under the first phase of the project although the original contractors had already been replaced.  

He said the original contractors were replaced in June last year because they had failed to complete the projects according to schedule, adding that the first phase, which started in 1999, cost RM19.89mil.  

HAVING A LOOK: Abdul Razak (weariang songkok) inspecting the abandoned police housing project at the project site in Batu Pahat Saturday.

However, he added, the new contractors had only completed eight labs, with three in Mersing and five in Segamat, reports MARSHA TAN. 

Abdul Razak said the state ACA was now looking into whether there was any bribery, fraud, cheating or misuse of funds involved. 

The agency, he added, would also get feedback from the school managements, district education offices and the state Education Department. 

He said this yesterday after visiting the police housing project at Taman Bandar, Jalan Tanjung Laboh, which had been abandoned for four years.  

Abdul Razak said under the second phase of the project, which started in December 2001 under another construction company, 100 out of 162 computer labs had been completed. 

“We will also investigate the quality of the completed labs, from the first and second phases,” he said, adding that 565 more labs were expected to be built under the third phase of the project.  

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