PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has denied allegations it was unfair when handing out publishing contracts of the Dual Language Programme’s (DLP) textbooks.
The ministry, in a statement, clarified that the selection of publishers for DLP textbooks for 2019 was through both direct negotiation as well as open tender.
But the ministry said the assumption it carried out direct negotiations with private publishers was false.
The ministry clarified that Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) was chosen to publish Science and Mathematics DLP textbooks for Year Three pupils.
“This is in line with Majlis Tindakan Negara 1974 whereby the DBP is responsible to publish primary school textbooks.”
The ministry added that the publication of Form Three Science and Mathematics DLP textbooks was through an open tender process managed by the ministry.
“An advertisement on the tender was posted on our e-Procurement portal, which is our regular practice.”
It said that a press release issued by the Finance Ministry on Jan 13 stated the Education Ministry was allowed to conduct direct negotiations with DBP to produce primary school DLP textbooks (new and reprinted) and that it has an approval letter dated Sept 18, 2018.
The ministry said it was taking appropriate and necessary steps to provide schools with DLP textbooks as soon as possible, and that all tender processes were carried out with integrity and in a transparent manner.
“The selection process was conducted transparently with the involvement of three committees – the material evaluation committee, company evaluation committee and the price assessment committee.
“All scores obtained from these committees were considered by the procurement board.”
The statement added that the board is chaired by the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (development) and included representatives from the education and finance ministries.
The Malay Printing Entrepreneur Association of Malaysia had questioned the ministry’s decision to allow the acquisition of DLP textbooks through direct negotiations.
On Friday, association president Muhammed Farhan Basheer said the ministry’s decision had resulted in a delay in the distribution of the textbooks.
The Form Three DLP textbooks, according to the ministry on Jan 16, will only reach students in March, three months after the school year begins.
Muhammad Farhan questioned whether cronyism was taking place in this project.