The Auditor General Reports for 2009 was finally tabled in Parliament in the afternoon of 25-10-2010 (Monday). There are many damning reports against several Ministries including Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture.
In the said Report there are 250 recommendations for year 2009 that have been forwarded to the various Ministries, Government Departments and GLCs for corrective actions and to avoid repetitions of weaknesses. The Auditor General Office shall monitor the situations and ensure that actions be taken by parties concerned with regards to the said Reports and it shall provide the outcomes in the Reports for 2010.There so many volumes of the said Report. For the moment I will only touch on the Ministry of Tourism because recently the Minister of Tourism seemed to paint a very rosy picture of her Ministry and of course, Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture on the USP Fund.
The synopsis of the said Report on the Ministry of Tourism:
No proper guidelines have been issued by the Ministry regards to the management and the role of the host for Homestay Programe. Many renovation works to upgrade the facilities by contractors for Homestay Programe did not follow the specifications provided. The Ministry issued many Certificates of Registration for Homestay Programe without proper check and supervisions. For example, many Homestay houses were given certificate of Registration without attending the required courses provided by the Ministry. Many Homestay houses are with poor bathroom and toilet facilities and etc.
“If there is no proper guidelines provided by the Ministry and also to correct the above findings than the Homestay programe will be a failure.”
According to the Minister of Tourism, YB Datuk Ng Yen Yen, in recent press report she appeared to be very satisfied with the Homestay Programe and did not talk about the findings of the Accountant General Report for 2009.
I shall be asking her many questions with regards to her role as Minister of Tourism pertaining to the failed Shanghai Expo Malaysian Pavilion with the Minang Kerbau buidling, which is more Indonesian than Malaysian. Rumour has it that the cost of the Malaysian Pavilion in the Shanghai Expo 2010 has escalated sky high from its original tender price of RM20 million.
Further, she and her husband have been making so many overseas trips and yet there were no positive results from the visits. It would appear that she is the most travelled Minister of Tourism of all times. I would suggest that her port folio be changed from Menteri Pelancongan to Menteri Melancong! May be the holidays and tours overseas have distracted her from overseeing the Homestay Programe.
Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture:
The previous Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication has made provision for a total sum of RM228.1 million to fulfill the Universal Service Provision Phase I to IV but the total sum spent was RM230.20 million.
To carry out the USP Programe Phase V, the Ministry has entered into a service agreement with Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd (Maxis) for RM119 million under USP Programe Phase V and entered into another supplementary agreement for the total sum of RM10 million on 3 December 2007. During this period Maxis has a paid up capital of RM1 million.
The contractual period under USP Programe Phase V was for 5 years and commenced in 2007 and to be completed in year 2012. As at 31 December 2009 the total sum spent on USP Programe Phase V was RM117.4 million.
The main scope of works for Maxis under USP Programe Phase V was to provide IT and communication equipments for 300 public libraries at the same time set up Community Websites in 500 locations under the USP Programe Phase I – V. Maxis had to also set up 250 Pusat Perkhidmatan Ilmu Komuniti for training in connection with computers for 250,000 participants from several places for 18 months. In connection with this, Maxis has appointed one person for every Pusat Perkhidmatan Ilmu Komuniti to carry out the training with an allowance of RM680 per month.
As from 9 April 2009, the Communication Department in Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication that was responsible for this USP Programe was placed under the new Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture.
The Ministry need to overcome the weaknesses in the Central Monitoring System to get accurate data for the supervision and control of the Universal Service Provision (USP) Programe Phase V. There was no proper register for assets that have been purchased under this USP fund. There were many places where money have been spent for IT centre but without internet access! Many IT centers that were set up under this USP were closed because no officers manning them. Supplies of toner for printers were not in accordance with the contracts. According to the contract, Maxis was supposed to supply 3 units of toner for printer every year for 300 public libraries under this USP Programe Phase V for 5 years. Payments for toners to Maxis Sdn Bhd cannot be properly verified because of lump sum payments were made.
This is what the Accountant General had to say in his report with regards to this USP Programe with Maxis:
“… NAMUN BEGITU, TERDAPAT BEBERAPA KELEMAHAN YANG BERPUNCA DARI KURANGNYA PENGUATKUASAAN TERHADAP KONTRAK DAN PEMANTAUAN YAGN KURANG BERKESAN. ANTARA KELEMAHAN TERSEBUT ADALAH DATA DARIPADA SISTEM PEMANTAUAN BERPUSAT YAGN MEMANTAU PENGGUNAAN KOMPUTER MENGIKUT LOKASI DI BAWAH PROGRAME USP FASA I HINGGA V DIRAGUI KETEPATANNYA; PENYENGGARAAN PENCEGAHAN TERHADAP PERALATAN YANG DIBEKALKAN TIDAK DIJALANKAN MENGIKUT TEMPOH YANG DITETAPKAN; PEMBEKALAN TONER TIDAK DIBUAT MENGIKUT SYARAT KONTRAK; SERTA PETUGAS PERPUSTAKAAN DESA TIDAK MEREKODKAN PERALATAN DAN KELENGKAPAN KOMUNIKASI YANG DIBEKALKAN DALAM DAFTAR DAN KAD HARTA MODAL/INVENTORI. …”
Due to time constraint, I will do my best to get answers from the above two Ministries in Parliament during the Debate for Budget 2011.