KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has denied approving direct negotiations to acquire some two million tablets for the ministry's eBooks programme next year.
"As of to date, I have not approved any direct negotiations (contracts).
"We have learned from the past mistakes of the previous administration and will not repeat such mistakes," he said when winding up his ministry's reply on issues raised during debates on Budget 2019 in Parliament on Monday (Nov 19).
Dr Maszlee was responding to a question by Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) if he had approved or agreed for two million tablets under the eBooks programme next year to be acquired through direct negotiations.
"The issue was raised in the Chinese media by Ayer Hitam (Dr Wee) and I have no idea if it is connected to the previous administration or the present one.
"If it is the new administration, it must be done through open tender," Dr Maszlee said.
Dr Wee said he raised the issue based on what was reported by the media on Oct 26 that the Deputy Education Minister said the eBooks programme would be implemented next year.
Dr Wee said that the Deputy Finance Minister was then reported to have said on Oct 30 that there would be flexibility to allow direct negotiations.
"There had been widespread news on whether there are two systems in approving the two million tablets under the eBooks programme.
"That is why I am asking the minister if this is true or not," Dr Wee said.
Dr Maszlee denied the claims and reiterated that all projects under his ministry must be via open tender.
On the allocation to Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Dr Maszlee assured Dr Wee that the government will be allocating RM5.5mil for two development projects next year.
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