Wednesday, November 18, 2020

PAC launches probe into 3 BN-era projects

The bipartisan parliamentary body will look into land swap deals involving the defence ministry, and the AES and 1BestariNet projects.

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will begin proceedings on more than two decades of land swap deals involving the defence ministry, among three other issues the bipartisan parliamentary body is looking into.

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said it will summon the defence ministry’s secretary-general on Nov 30, the first day of the proceedings.

Wong also announced investigations into two other projects under the Barisan Nasional government which were cancelled following the coalition’s fall from power in 2018.

They are the Automated Enforcement System (AES), a camera surveillance system implemented in 2012 to catch traffic violators, and 1BestariNet, an internet for schools project by the education ministry in collaboration with YTL Communications.

Wong said former auditor-general Ambrin Buang briefed PAC this week on the three issues.

Ambrin was appointed by the Pakatan Harapan government to head the Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigating Committee to investigate dubious government contracts and deals.

Last year, the committee was said to have concluded its investigation into 16 deals involving 1,183ha of land belonging to the defence ministry.

On the AES, the committee investigated the Armed Forces Fund’s takeover of the project at a cost of RM555 million, 14 times more than its original cost of RM40 million.

The AES contract was awarded to two private companies, ATES Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd.

Ambrin’s committee also reported weaknesses in the RM2.7 billion 1BestariNet programme to equip some 10,000 schools with 4G internet.

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