Former education minister asks if YTL Communications towers occupying school land rent-free

Maszlee Malik also asked if the power costs of maintaining the towers were being absorbed by the schools, which he said effectively meant taxpayers were paying for the charges. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Maszlee Malik also asked if the power costs of maintaining the towers were being absorbed by the schools, which he said effectively meant taxpayers were paying for the charges. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Maszlee Malik asked the Education Ministry today to state the outcome of negotiations with infrastructure giant YTL Communications Sdn Bhd for rental charges of the firm’s telecommunications towers built on public school land.

The former education minister said in Parliament that the negotiations began nearly two years ago, and asked if the firm has been allowed to occupy public school land without paying any rent since then.

“As I recall on November 15, 2019 we received word from the Cabinet that they were finalising the contract for YTL but till today there has been no negotiations nor word of any contract made for YTL to sign.

“While these schools are closed, YTL is still using these towers for commercial purposes but did not pay the rent to the schools. Sadly the schools have to foot the bill. I’ve brought this up before and I know the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) will look into this later on but the question still remains.

“What’s the current status of this issue? Seems like after two years the Ministry of Education (MOE) are still in negotiations with YTL despite the schools being closed,” the Simpang Renggam MP said.

He also asked if the power costs of maintaining the towers were being absorbed by the schools, which he said effectively meant taxpayers were paying for the charges.

YTL Communications is the service provider for the 1BestariNet project — an initiative to provide Internet access and a virtual learning environment (VLE) to schools nationwide.

The 15-year project worth RM4.47 billion was initiated in 2011 by former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was the education minister at the time.

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