Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (pic) said the project had gone through the proper processes via open tender.
"At the moment, the company has produced and aired a total of 25 educational video episodes while 63 others are waiting to be aired.
"The rest of the 712 episodes are still in various stages of production," he said in his winding up speech for Budget 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (Nov 24).
He said that the restrictions and implementation of the MCO had affected the production of the educational videos.
"So, the contract has been extended from Nov 3, 2020, to March 31, 2021," said the minister.
During the Budget 2021 debates, Dr Maszlee Malik (IND-Simpang Renggam) had asked the Education Ministry to explain the status of a directly-awarded contract worth almost RM2mil to produce 800 educational TV programmes by the end of October.
Maszlee then stood up, saying that he had predicted that the project might fail or be delayed as the rates to produce the videos were below market price.
"When I checked the e-procurement website, they are offering RM1,000 per episode while the market rate is about RM2,500 per minute.
"Which companies will dare to bid (for the project). For the market players, the project looked like a direct award," he said.
To this, Radzi reiterated again that the project was done via open tender.
"At the beginning of MCO, we did not have any educational programmes via terrestrial television as it had long been abolished.
"So when the MCO happened, we needed educational TV programmes, and we scrambled to find the best approach and to get the content as fast as possible.
"We needed it before the end of the year. But as I have mentioned, the MCO restrictions had affected parts of the production as teachers needed to move around to do the filming," he said.
To a question from Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) on the inconsistency of standard operating procedures for childcare centres in states that are not classified as red zones, Radzi said all kindergartens under the purview of the ministry are still not allowed to operate.
"Actually, they are not allowed to operate, but we will check the latest information whether some centres are open in Johor and Melaka," he said.
Teo had claimed that except for two red zone districts, all kindergartens in Johor are now allowed to operate but those in Pahang, which is a green zone without any active cases, were still not allowed to open.
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