PAC uncovers serious flaws

Faulty system: Foreign Workers Centralised Management System has been found to contain a series of discrepancies.

KUALA LUMPUR: A probe by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) has uncovered a series of discrepancies.

The committee found out that the government had used FWCMS for six years without a finalised contract, which is a violation of the rules set by the government itself.

PAC chairman Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said the FWCMS contract between the vendor – Bestinet Sdn Bhd – and the government was not finalised and signed, even though an acceptance letter was issued on Jan 12, 2018.

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“The PAC has concluded that the implementation period to develop the FWCMS ended in May 2024, according to the acceptance letter, and the agreement has yet to be signed as of March 13 during the last PAC proceeding held,” she told a press conference at Parliament yesterday.

The PAC also concluded that during the earlier stages to implement the FWCMS development project, the Home Ministry had failed to adhere to conventional procurement procedures nor (embrace) the public-private partnership (PPP).

“Among the factors why the agreement remained unsigned between the two parties was the extension of the six-year application and the increase in the collection fee to RM120 from RM100 by Bestinet.

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“Due to the reasons above, the agreement was not able to be finalised even though the contract period under the acceptance letter expired on May 31 this year,” said Mas Ermieyati.

She added that PAC proceedings also found that the Cabinet had on Aug 26, 2015 approved the development of the Foreign Workers Integrated Management System (ePPAx) and FWCMS, which are two systems under a single window concept.

“This resulted in overlapping functions between agencies in developing the foreign worker management system and wastage of public funds,” she said.

The committee also found that the Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry were of the opinion that the hiring process of foreign workers could be implemented through ePPAx or manually, without needing FWCMS.

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“The PAC was informed by the Human Resources secretary-general that if the government ditches FWCMS, ePPAx (which has been discontinued) can be used for the process of hiring foreign workers,” said Mas Ermieyati.

She said the PAC report on the management of the foreign workers using ePPAx and FWCMS under the Human Resources and Home ministries was based on four proceedings conducted by the committee.

The proceedings were held on Dec 5, 2023; and Jan 22 and March 13 this year; with testimonies from the Audit Department, the Home Ministry, the Human Resources Ministry, Labour Department Peninsular Malaysia, and Bestinet chief executive officer Ismail Mohd Noor.

According to the Home Ministry, Bestinet had applied to extend the contract for six years and to increase the collection fee to RM120 from RM100, Mas Ermieyati said.

“On June 24, the Home Ministry said the Cabinet agreed to extend the contract to three years with Bestinet,” she added.

“The PAC will obtain such information in the follow-up proceeding, which will be conducted three months from today.”

When asked if the PAC called up the Bestinet founder to provide his statements, Mas Ermieyati said Datuk Seri Aminul Islam Abdul Nor (better known as Datuk Seri Mohd Amin) was not part of the witness list as he no longer holds a position at the tech company.

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