Computer lab scandal: Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad has not told all as promised and the issue is far from over


Media Statement
by Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Three days ago, Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said that he would hold a “ tell all “ Press Conference tomorrow after submitting a report on the computer lab fiasco to the Cabinet.  

While the government has taken the right decision to terminate with immediate effect the contract it awarded to Bellgrand to build computer in the east zone, Musa has not told all as promised and the issue is definitely far from over.


I have two days ago welcomed Musa”s announcement that he was ready to tell all. I have expressed my hope he will really tell all and not just reveal what he thinks he wants to tell. 


His Press Conference was however a big disappointment. .


I have two days ago said in my press statement,


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? ”


Musa has clearly not addressed many questions which he must deal with if he wants to keep to his promise to tell all.  


In keeping with the principle of transparency and  public accountability,  Musa must also answer the following three questions:


  1. why was the contract awarded to CS Technology for the Southern Zone terminated on 2.6.2002 ?
  2. since the entire project was targeted to be completed by 14, May 2001, what have caused the long delay? 
  3. the validity of the allegations related to the computer lab project as contained in the two sets of documents which I have submitted to the Prime Minister?

On 8.7.2003, I have submitted to the Prime Minister for investigations two sets of documents which I have received through the post from unknown person. 


The documents titled “ Keputusan Perolehan Yang Di Buat Secara Tidak Teratur/ Tidak Mengikut Prinsip Dan Tidak Mematuhi Peraturan “ and “ Kepincangan Pengurusan Kewangan Negara ” made allegations against the abuse of powers/ procedures and financial irregularities committed  by a top Treasury official.


Among the allegations made, some were about and related to the phase one school computerisation project.


The allegations were: 


  1. the contractors could not complete the work as scheduled on 14 May 2001 as they faced various problems like limited revolving capital and that they were awarded contract values which were too high.
  2. they were not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Pusat Perkhidmatan Kontraktor (PKK) and hence they should not have been awarded contracts to build school labs through the “ Design and Build ”concept.


It was alleged that in awarding contracts to these contractors, the Finance Ministry has violated the CIDB ACT 1994 (Act 520) as the power to grant exception from being registered with CIDB is vested in the Works minister. The power to grant exemption for non-registration with PKK is vested in the Entrepreneur Development Minister, and not the Finance Ministry.


Musa must also know that an allegation was made that the appointment of the project management consultant has caused Public Works Department to be become idle. He must therefore offer a detailed explanation or effective rebuttal, and not by merely saying that the government has decided to appoint project management consultants to implement projects under the Design and Build concept because there are many projects under the Eighth Malaysian Plan for the Public Works Department to carry out.


Unless Musa is prepared to really tell all and could provide full and satisfactory answers, I cannot accept his statement that since the government has appointed project management consultant and contractors to carry out the project, the government must therefore  not be blamed.


His analogy that the government is a house owner who should not be faulted is only applicable if the project is a private investment. He government is not a real “ house owner ” but merely “ contractors “ elected by the people to manage the nation for  five years. The government must therefore justify and account for all its decisions.



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