Computer lab scandal: Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad must be prepared to really tell all


Media Statement
by Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): It was reported in today’s newspapers that the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, would hold a “ tell all ”  Press Conference tomorrow after submitting a report on the computer lab fiasco to the Cabinet. 

Musa is the Chairman of the Committee set up by the Cabinet to look into the computer lab fiasco after the  Deputy Education Minister Datuk Aziz Samsuddin recently revealed that only about 40 % of the labs were fully operational and the Works Minister, Samy Vellu, said that out of the 600 schools built in the Eastern Zone, 574 units were found by the Public Works Department to fail to meet the specifications or were in dangerous condition.


I welcome Tan Sri Musa’s preparedness to tell all and I hope he will really tell all and not just reveal what he thinks he wants to tell. 


I wish to remind Musa that the computer lab project is a double sandal because:


  1. the original deadline for  project completion was on 14 May 2001, and yet as  at 15 July 2003, only about 40 % of the labs are fully operational.
  2. almost all of the labs built in the Eastern Zone have been found by the Public Works Department to violate the specifications.

The people must not only be told what steps the Cabinet will take to resolve the problem, the people must also be told what has caused the double scandal.


More importantly, the Cabinet Committee’s investigations must also reveal who are the culprits resulting in such a double scandal as well as the lessons that have been learnt from it.


Among the questions which Musa must be prepared to tell, there are four key questions which must be satisfactorily answered:


  1. why should the government privatize the project through the “ design and build  “ concept, hence resulting in the Public Works Department professionals becoming idle and also resulting in escalated building cost?”
  2. why should the government award the project to one contractor in each zone without realizing that the contractors will face the problem of limited revolving capital?
  3. whether the project management consultant appointed has the basic competency in terms of sufficient human resources to carry out the supervision task?
  4. has the Public Works Department completed its investigation into labs built in other zones, if so, why is the problem of not meeting the specifications particularly serious in the east zone?

There is no doubt that the cause of the delay in completing the project has to do with the contractors or factors linked to them. The contractors cannot escape the blame.


However, on the question of the labs  not meeting the safety standard, although the contractors must shoulder the responsibility, the project management consultant must take the biggest portion of responsibility.


The Education Minister must explain whether the shoddy work is due to the consultants’ inability to supervise, or due to the absence or lack of supervision and why is it so?


He must also explain why the Finance Ministry must privastise the supervision task when the nation has   professionals from the Public Works Department to do the work.


I also wish to remind Tan Sri Musa that on 8.7.2003, I have submitted two sets of documents, which I have received by post ,  to the Prime Minister for  investigation.


The documents made various allegations against a top Treasury official and among the allegations made and questions raised  was that in the appointment of project management consultants for some projects, the consultants were given contracts which exceed their capability.


It should be relevant for me to add that the same consultant was also appointed for the computer lab project.


* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General & MP for Kota Melaka