Friday 24 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): Awanbiru Technology Bhd (Awantec or formerly known as Prestariang Bhd) has won its legal suit against the government over the termination of the RM3.5 billion National Immigration Control System (SKIN) project.

However, shares of Awantec dropped as much as 16.7% to an intraday low of 42.5 sen on Thursday following the High Court’s ruling, which awarded only one-third of the company’s RM733 million claim in relation to the project termination.

At market close, the stock was down 6.5 sen or 12.75% to 44.5 sen, giving it a market capitalisation of RM348.06 million. Its trading volume surged to 39.56 million shares — the highest since Aug 23, 2023 — more than six times the 5.69 million shares recorded on Wednesday.

The dispute dates back to April 2019 when Awantec’s wholly owned unit Prestaring Skin Sdn Bhd (PSKIN) claimed RM733 million from the government for the termination of the SKIN project, which had a 15-year contractual agreement. Despite several rounds of negotiations, both parties failed to reach a consensus on the quantum to be paid by the government, leading PSKIN to seek recourse through the legal system.

However, the High Court ordered the government to pay a judgement sum of RM231.55 million, plus legal costs incurred by PSKIN during the litigation process, for which the court has directed a payment of RM80,000, subject to the final legal fees.

Additionally, the government has been instructed to pay post-judgement interest of 5% per annum on the judgement sum. Judge Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar delivered the decision on Thursday. PSKIN was represented by Messrs Lim Chee Wee Partnership, Awantec said in a bourse filing.

Awantec sees closure after the suit win

In response to the High Court’s decision, Awantec chief executive officer Azlan Zainal Abidin said, “There is closure for the matter.”

“This will allow us to continue to focus on growing the company and business as we have recently won MyGovUC3.0 and Water Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) projects. My team and I are fully committed to delivering a better result for this year,” he told The Edge.

PSKIN secured the RM3.5 billion SKIN project in August 2017 from the previous Barisan Nasional government under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration to replace the Malaysian Immigration System (myIMMs).

A year later in December 2018, the then Pakatan Harapan government helmed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad decided to scrap the project in favour of a new system that would save government funds.

Edited ByIsabelle Francis & Lee Weng Khuen
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