KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 ― Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has dismissed as baseless the allegation that the recent change of the director-general of immigration was linked to the government's decision to cancel the National Immigration Control System (SKIN) concession agreement.
‘The allegation is malicious and not true at all. It may have been deliberately initiated by those with vested interests unhappy with the Home Ministry proposal to cancel the SKIN project which has been agreed to by the (previous) Cabinet,” he said in a statement here today.
Muhyiddin said that when he was appointed as the minister in charge, he was briefed on the projects of the Home Ministry which had been approved by the previous government, including the SKIN project which had been approved through direct negotiation with Prestariang SKIN Sdn Bhd (PSSB).
“In line with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government policy to review high-value projects approved by the previous government, I instructed a special committee to review the SKIN project in detail. After the review, the committee found that there were some shortcomings in the terms of the concession agreement and the implementation of the project,” he said.
Some of these were that the contractual terms were more favourable to the company than the government, the project implementation cost was too high, the project would be a financial burden to the government in the long term, and that the limited scope of the project did not meet the actual requirements of the Immigration Department, he said.
“The committee has recommended that the concession agreement with PSSB be terminated and a new system, namely the Integrated Immigration System be developed. This system will meet the real needs of the Immigration Department as well as save nearly RM1 billion for the government through a more competitive, transparent and fair procurement through open tender.
“The recommendations by my ministry have been carefully crafted and brought before the cabinet four times for consideration. It was not made arbitrarily. As a result, the ministry has saved the government nearly RM1billion,” he said.
Muhyiddin was referring to the Malaysiakini report on January 14, this year entitled “MACC probing if Immigration D-G post changes linked to RM3.5 billion deal”.
The report claims the SKIN contract worth RM3.5 billion, cancelled by the ministry last year, was awarded to another company with ties to a senior official of the ministry.
The Ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Policy and Control) Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud was appointed as the new Immigration director-general on January 13 replacing Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali who was appointed as the chief executive of the National Financial Crime Centre effective January 2.
Muhyiddin also denied the allegation that the contract for the implementation of the new system had been awarded to a company linked to a senior officer of the ministry.
“The Home Ministry is still developing the scope and specification of the system in line with the cabinet’s decision to implement the project via an open tender. The final tender document is expected to be completed in April this year. To date, no company has been awarded the contract,” he said. ― Bernama