PETALING JAYA: Approximately RM273mil was wasted because the uCustoms system was not completed within the stipulated time even though five extensions were given, says the Auditor-General's Report 2019 Series 2.
“It can be summed up that the development of the uCustoms system failed to be completed within seven years and two months (86 months), even after five extensions of time (EOT) have been given,” said the report.
The report added that RM272.99mil was paid to suppliers and the project management office while a liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) of RM55,650 had been imposed.
“A notice of LAD charges amounting to RM3.94mil has been issued on Dec 31, 2020 for EOT 3 and EOT 4 to Company 374044-H,” the report said.
The report added that a feasibility study was not conducted prior to the development of the uCustoms system and said there were shortcomings in the payment process, where 13 payment vouchers amounting to RM64.89mil could not be confirmed because the complete documents were not attached.
It said that the selection of suppliers did not take into account the evaluation and report prepared by the Technical Evaluation Committee.
"The Prime Minister's Office did not prepare, update and save project management files in both softcopy and hardcopy centrally. There was a high turnover rate among senior officers of the uCustoms supplier team,” said the report.
"Six contracts were signed late between 58 and up to 204 days," it added.
According to the report, the total development of the uCustoms system involved four supplier contracts and three PMO contracts amounting to RM397.43mil.
Of the total, RM390.01mil was for system development contracts while RM7.42mil was the cost for the PMO contracts and as of Dec 31, 2020, the Customs Department has made payments amounting to RM272.99mil(68.7%).
The development of the uCustoms system was meant to improve the efficiency of Customs services and to make the department a competitive commercial institution.
On this, the report recommended a comprehensive study of the Customs system requirements to be conducted before the development of a new system.
It said sound project governance should be established so that the actual progress, implementation of the go-live system, module development, deliverables as well as progress payment can be monitored with the appropriate action.
“Ensure the implementation of the project in accordance with the terms of the contract that has been agreed and within the stipulated period,” said the report.
“This is to ensure that the system can be developed in accordance with the required specifications and achieve the objectives that have been set,” it added.
It also called for the maintenance of system development documents so that future system development can be done efficiently, orderly and comprehensively.
"The system shall ensure the security of government data and information is preserved,” said the report.
"Ensure that the source code for the system development is the property of the Malaysian government to avoid complete dependence on suppliers for the purpose of completing future system development and maintenance," it added.