YTL Communications: Setting the Record Straight
(9 July 2019): YTL Communications is extremely disappointed that the press statement issued by the Ministry of Education on 5 July 2019 and statements made at the press conference on the same day have made us appear to have taken advantage of the Government.
As a business, we have always sought to resolve matters amicably. Nevertheless, we cannot allow our reputation to be sullied by unfounded claims. Hence, we have to set the record straight.
As a corporate citizen of this country that won an open tender for a major project, we are entitled to rely on fair business dealings.
At the time of the award of the project, broadband infrastructure was in its infancy in the country. To address this, the National Broadband Initiative was launched with the aim of increasing broadband penetration across the population. Bidders were therefore required to invest in building telecommunication towers or lay fibre to rural areas as more than 70% of schools in this country were rural and remote schools.
The contract entered into between the Ministry and YTL Communications acknowledged the 15 year term of the project but provided that the project would be implemented in rolling phases.
Notwithstanding the right to a joint review, YTL Communications did not object to the Ministry’s announcement that it would call a fresh tender at the beginning of 2019.
BUT after the announcement, we waited 9 months for the tender to be called and it was only at a meeting on 23 April that we were informed that the Ministry was not ready for the tender.
It was at the Ministry’s request that we offered in good faith to provide internet services and the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (Frog VLE) to the Ministry during the interim period of 6 months from 1 July to 31 December (interim period) free of charge.
But on 27 June, without even responding to our letter offering free services for the six months period, the Ministry announced the award of the internet services for the interim period to Telekom Malaysia, Celcom Axiata and Maxis.
As no joint review was undertaken as required under the contract and no open tender called, we regard this as a breach of our contract.
At the press conference, the Ministry gave reasons to justify the rejection of our offer. We address each of these in the Appendix* to this statement.
The alternative of an open tender announced by the Ministry for the period from 1 July also did not materialise. An open tender would have established the most competitive prices against a defined specification and would have left little room for speculation. Instead, we are left wondering about a process that was flawed from the outset.
As a company that has worked with the Ministry over the past 7 years implementing a world class nationwide learning solution that the country should be proud of, we cannot help but be disappointed. We, however, remain committed to playing our part in improving education in the country.
Issued 9 July 2019
* Appendix Attached
|Ministry of Education's Reasons for not Accepting Offer from YTL Communications for Free Services during 6 months interim period||YTL Communications' Response|
Kos tersembunyi (hidden cost)
Laporan Ketua Audit Negara, telah membuat teguran berkaitan caj elektrik supaya kos tersebut ditanggung oleh YTLC kerana menara telekomunikasi yang dipasang adalah juga untuk tujuan komersial selain untuk kegunaan sekolah.
The allegation that it is a “hidden” cost is totally unfounded.
There was nothing hidden about this cost. The Ministry was aware of this at all times.
Kerajaan Malaysia berpotensi untuk kehilangan pendapatan penyewaan komersial menara telekomunikasi (tower)
It was agreed in our contract that the rental of the school sites would be determined by Jabatan Ketua Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Persekutuan (JKPTG). There is no loss of income for the Government and the estimate of RM32 million is purely speculative.
All base stations are part of our nationwide 4G mobile network. The towers on the school sites were expressly recognised by the Ministry in the contract as a means of providing broadband services to the schools as well as to the communities around the schools in line with the Government's goal of enabling broadband services at the national level under the National Broadband Initiative.
|3||Kelemahan yang dihadapi dalam pelaksanaan Projek 1BestariNet Fasa 2 akan berulang
Selepas Kontrak Perkhidmatan 1BestariNet Fasa 1, YTLC telah diberi tempoh interim dengan tujuh (7) kali lanjutan dalam tempoh dua (2) tahun. Akhirnya Kontrak Perkhidmatan 1BestariNet Fasa 2 juga telah diserahkan kepada YTLC. Pihak KPM tidak mahu kelemahan – kelemahan yang ada dalam kontrak lama berulang bagi memastikan guru dan pelajar mendapat manfaat yang optimum.
The contract is for 15 years but implemented in rolling phases, where at the end of each phase there would be a joint review on performance, changes in technology, basic educational needs and price.
In any event, it was reported by The Star that in the press conference, the Secretary General said that YTL Communications was awarded phase 2 because we were still the best service provider at that point of time.
|4||Tidak dapat meneroka teknologi terkini dan bersesuaian untuk KPM
KPM tidak berpeluang untuk mencuba teknologi alternatif yang mungkin lebih baik kepada para pelajar dan guru serta menjimatkan perbelanjaan Kerajaan.
Notwithstanding that the project is for 15 years, the contract does not prevent the Ministry from exploring the latest technology. In fact the Ministry has from time to time conducted trials in the schools.
The joint review process at the end of each phase allows changes in technology to be addressed.
The Ministry had announced its intention to have an open tender for the next phase which YTL Communications was happy to participate in. If this had been carried out, the Ministry would have been able to specify its requirements for technology and discovered the prices for such technology. The Ministry instead decided to appoint the 3 ISPs without a tender.
|5||Dapatan Hasil Kajian Impak dan Hala Tuju Pendidikan Digital Negara
Hasil kajian yang dijalankan ke atas guru, pelajar dan pentadbir mendapati kualiti capaian internet yang dibekalkan tidak memuaskan dan tidak dapat memberikan pekhidmatan yang terbaik kepada pihak Kerajaan.
In phase 2, YTL Communications provided a range of technologies ranging from mobile internet to fibre and has provided the Ministry with bandwidth of up to 100 Mbps.
Therefore, if the teachers are dissatisfied with the internet speeds, it would be because the bandwidth that the Ministry specified do not satisfy the requirements of the schools.
It is unjustified to blame YTL Communications.
KPM telah mengenal pasti Google Classroom (GC) sebagai alternatif bagi menggantikan perkhidmatan Frog VLE di bawah projek 1BestariNet.
GC diberi secara PERCUMA kepada semua institusi pendidikan (sekolah, negeri dan Kementerian) di seluruh dunia.
|Other Matters Raised|
|7||Cost to the Ministry in the interim period||
YTL Communications has offered to provide internet services and the Frog VLE entirely free of charge during the interim period of 6 months.
If the Ministry had accepted our offer for the free services during the interim period, the Ministry would have:
During the interim period, no price comparison is required as we have offered our services for free. If the Ministry was interested to undertake a price comparison, this could only have been undertaken in one of 2 ways:
Trying to compare prices in any other way is mere speculation.
For example, the provision of dedicated fibre connections to rural schools required high capital cost. The Ministry evaluated this on the basis of capital investment and timing and deemed that our price was appropriate and the best for the time. It is not justified to compare this to available infrastructure that can easily be connected. Over 50% of the 1000 schools which were provided with dedicated fibre connections were in Sabah and Sarawak.