Sunday 14 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): A migrant labour recruitment system under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs has been operating for six years without a finalised contract, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The letter of acceptance for the Foreign Workers Centralized Management System (FWCMS) was issued on Jan 12, 2018, but the contract remained unsigned between the government and the service provider, Bestinet Sdn Bhd, up to March 13 this year, the PAC noted.

"This clearly violates the rules set by the government," said PAC chairperson Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin at a news conference on Wednesday.

The Cabinet approved the implementation of the FWCMS under the public-private partnership model on Aug 26, 2015, according to a report by the bi-partisan committee mandated to examine government finances.

However, the system was not included in the list of projects approved by the Cabinet or in any letter of intent for implementation from 2009 until May 31, 2020, according to a letter dated December 2020 by the Public Private Partnership Unit.

"In addition, the Cabinet notes on the direction and implementation of FWCMS were not tabled to the Cabinet before the letter of acceptance was issued," said PAC.

The breach of procurement procedures or public-private partnership rules, along with Bestinet's request to increase collection charges from RM100 to RM120, contributed to the FWCMS contract not being signed, PAC added.

Meanwhile, PAC also found weaknesses in the management of identification control in the FWCMS, with two IDs held by non-Ministry of Human Resources officers, and 24 unauthorised users approving employer applications. The incidents have been reported to the police, PAC noted.

The Home Ministry has been urged to immediately finalise the FWCMS agreement and direction, the PAC said. Additionally, the ministry must strictly adhere to information and communication technology procurement policies.

The police should provide updates on the latest investigation, the PAC stressed.

Bestinet contract extension in scrutiny

Meanwhile, PAC said it will obtain information related to an announcement by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on the Bestinet’s three-year contract extension.

On June 24, Saifuddin announced that the Cabinet agreed to extend the contract for another three years with Bestinet, and a committee has been established to discuss terms and conditions.

The committee will “obtain information related to this matter in the follow-up proceedings that will be held within three months", Mas Ermieyati said.

Further, the Human Resources Ministry’s chief secretary has been informed that if the government decides to end the FWCMS, the discontinued Integrated Foreign Workers Management System (ePPAx) can still be used for the recruitment of foreign workers, the PAC said.

PAC advised the Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry to collaborate on a comprehensive strategic plan for managing foreign workers beyond system development, ensuring there is no duplication of system functions, which would result in a waste of public money.

Edited ByJason Ng
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