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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― An Auditor-General’s Report released today has revealed the convoluted mess over the planning and implementation of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system between Johor and Singapore that was first proposed back in 2006.
Series 2 of the 2017 report highlighted various issues plaguing the project, with among others the Ministry of Transport (MOT) hiking up the operational expenditure contract by 199 per cent from RM34.88 million to RM104.30 million in 2016.
“Subsequent audit review showed that on September 2, 2015, the Cabinet has agreed for the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Planning Unit to approve an allocation of RM75.56 million for six years,” said the report.
The allocation comprised of RM40.68 million for the capital expenditure (capex), and the RM34.88 million operational expenditure (opex).
“However, on October 28, 2016 the Cabinet has approved a new opex cost proposed by the same contractor, totalling RM104.3 million, which was an increase of 199 per cent compared to the opex cost states on September 2, 2015.”
It said among the justifications given were an increase in job scope, equipments and work force, the increase of lanes from 60 to 114, and the procurement of handheld readers or mobile payment system.
The transport minister then was Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who was the past MCA president, under former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The audit pointed out that the system failed to recognise the plate numbers of 0.07 per cent of the vehicles that went through during the audit period, leading to RM17,100 of loss in charges.
It also found numerous problems, such as the maintenance cost reaching 24.5 per cent of the capex, despite the special review committee meeting agreeing to just 17 per cent, and unexplained cost of RM7.82 million involving the renewal of software licences.
There was also a payment claim for the services of 80 staff members totalling RM1.17 million between January and March 2017, when the actual number of staff was just 40 or 41 people.
The VEP was previously postponed by the government to standardise its implementation at the Malaysia-Singapore and Malaysia-Thailand borders.
It has yet to be implemented.