CYBERJAYA (Aug 1): Datasonic Group Bhd will participate in an open tender for a new Integrated Immigration System (IIS), as the company believes it has most of the expertise required.
"Basically all components of the tender, we are there, we have experience in every facet of the tender," managing director Datuk Abu Hanifah Noordin told the media after the group's annual general meeting today.
In May, the Home Affairs Ministry made a request for proposals (RFP) from the private sector on the new IIS project after it scrapped an earlier mooted project called Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional (SKIN), which was reportedly worth RM3.5 billion.
The due date for submission is Aug 19, and deputy managing director Chew Ben Ben said management is confident of the company's chances in the upcoming tender.
"There are four core modules there, Visa and permit system. This is a very complicated system, it involves 20 years of data, which we are well versed in. The second core module in IIS is passport system, which we are also well versed in. Third one is border control, meaning all the check points, auto gate with biometric system. The current auto gates at various check points, 136 of them, [are] all maintained by us. The 20 new auto gates at KLIA with facial recognition are also maintained by us.
"The feedback from custom immigration department and travellers are very positive, especially facial recognition system, because many people do not have good fingerprints. The fourth one is on enforcement, to support the immigration," he explained.
Chew said as the government has resumed orders for Mykads from Datasonic, he expects the group's financial performance to be normalised moving forward.
"Last year, the sharp drop in orders was due to the change of government. Initially they wanted to replace three million older Mykads. Now there are up to 25 million Mykads in circulation, of which three million are old Mykads. But with the change of government, which become cautious in spending, they put on hold the 'Jom Tukar Mykad Baru' campaign, so they did not order for three quarters, and (in) the fourth quarter they ordered about 200,000," he said.
Chew said Putrajaya's Mykad order had reverted to normal, of around 600,000, as stock had dropped to an "optimal level".
"Based on the demand now, every year they need about up to 2.7 million Mykads," he added.
Hanifah observed the overall reduction in Mykad orders was because Datasonic now supplied better quality products, reducing the need for replacement. "Before we did the ID project, the government faced one million spoilage every year. Now there is hardly any, that is why the number (is) dropping."
Hanifah said the company's track record of supplying better quality Mykads and passports would help it secure more new projects. "Put it this way, the former [passport] vendor had been there for about 20 years, they never won an award. When we got into the passport project, in our first year we already won an international award. So when we do something, we do it to world class standard, without compromising the security," he said.
Chew said the group is now working on establishing its own factory to produce financial cards for banks in a move to improve margins as they were currently sourced from third parties who provide margins of 5-10% only.
"Because for Mykad we have our own factory, own system, so we can enjoy better margins... But we just bought one factory in Klang. Once it is commissioned, we would be able to supply financial cards to the banks, (and) margins would go up," he said.
Chew is also optimistic the government will extend its contract for Mykads.
"For the supply of 12 million Mykad contract, it will expire at end December. But so far the government has only completed about up to 40% of the order.
"So we expect there will be an extension. Based on the unused order, it can last for another three years," he said. He contended the reason the government had not ordered more Mykads was "because we supply better cards, less replacement".