PoP Phase 1 project 99.11% complete, remaining six in Southern Zone, says Teo Nie Ching

KUALA LUMPUR: Phase 1 of the Point of Presence (PoP) Project, involving the installation of 677 PoPs in schools and industrial areas valued at RM673.2mil, has achieved 99.11% completion.

Deputy Communications Minister Teo Nie Ching said as of Wednesday (July 10), 671 out of 677 PoPs have been successfully installed, with the remaining six located in the Southern Zone.

"The company responsible for implementing the PoP Project in the Southern Zone was granted an extension of time (EOT) initially from December 2022 to October 2023.

"However, they have applied for a second EOT until the end of February 2024, but have yet to complete the remaining PoPs,” she said when winding up the debate on the 2024 Auditor-General's Report Series 2/2024) in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

Teo said the ministry has issued two warning notices to the company regarding delays in the PoP project and is considering imposing liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) for the outstanding PoPs.

For Phase 2 of the PoP project, Teo announced a budget allocation of RM3.9bil. The Letter of Acceptance for the project was signed and handed over to the selected contractor on Oct 6, 2022, five days before the dissolution of the 14th Parliament.

"The Communications Ministry stands ready to cooperate with the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) for any investigations deemed necessary,” she said.

Regarding the availability of internet services through PoP that are underutilised by the Education Ministry, Teo clarified that the ministry was informed about the phased implementation of the project and that the ministry needs to consider existing internet contracts before subscribing to new packages.

Teo noted that since January this year, multiple engagement sessions on broadband subscription packages had been conducted with the ministry, and agreement on package pricing was finalised during meetings held from May 8-10, resulting in a 10% reduction compared to current ministry subscriptions.

"Offer letters detailing broadband service packages under the PoP Project, along with a list of involved schools, was submitted to the ministry on May 17 for their action in coordinating internet package procurement for subsequent schools,” she said.

Meanwhile, on steps to implement audit recommendations for revenue acquisition from project execution and the ministry's strategy to maximise returns from the National Digital Network Plan project, Teo said there are ongoing efforts to align revenue-sharing calculations with project partners.

She said these calculations would be finalised by the end of the contract in consideration of costs and total port installations, potentially including surplus returns to the government.

"The Communications Ministry will monitor subscription rates until the contract concludes in December 2024. If rates reach the 80% threshold, revenue-sharing payments will be processed accordingly,” she said.

"To ensure optimal returns from the infrastructure and development initiatives, the ministry is committed to streamlining policies with relevant ministries and agencies,

She said these measures were taken to holistically harness and obtain the best value from projects under the National Digital Network Plan implementation. - Bernama

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