Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has denied that the RM3.5 billion National Immigration Control System (SKIN) project was awarded to a company linked to a senior officer of the ministry last year.
In a statement today, Muhyiddin vehemently denied a Malaysiakini report on the graft probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into possible wrongdoing in the project undertaken by the Home 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 ready in April. Until then, no company was given a contract, as reported by Malaysiakini,” he said.
Last month, Muhyiddin announced that the cabinet decided to scrap the SKIN project, which was to be replaced with a fully-online Integrated Immigration System called myIMMs Global.
On Jan 14, Malaysiakini reported that MACC started the probe after receiving information of the sudden change to the post of Immigration Department director-general that could be linked to a bid to award the contract to another company linked to a senior officer in the Home Ministry.
Responding to the report, Muhyiddin also denied corruption and abuse of power the reasons for the replacement of Jamil Rakon as Immigration chief within a fortnight of his appointment.
Jamil was appointed as the director-general on January 4 to replace Mustafar Ali, who was recently appointed as the National Financial Crime Centre head.
However, Jamil was replaced by Khairul Dzaimee Daud on January 13.
The Home Ministry said Khairul was picked because of his experience in security management and immigration.
He was also responsible for immigration policies, foreign worker management and state registration affairs when he was the Home Ministry deputy secretary-general (policy and control) from July 2017 to January 13.
Jamil, meanwhile, returns to his previous position as the Home Ministry deputy secretary-general (management).
According to Muhyiddin, the accusation “is based on mala fide intention” and that it could be the work of parties who are not satisfied with the proposal by the ministry to cancel the SKIN project.
Elaborating further, he said he had instructed the special committee to review the SKIN project after he assumed office in May 2018.
“The special committee had identified several weaknesses on the terms of the concession contract and the implementation of the projects,” he said.
The contract was lopsided while the cost of implementation was too high and burdening to the debt-ridden government, he added.
There was a limit in the project implementation scope which was not what the Immigration Department needed.
“As such, the special committee proposed to end the concession contract with PSSB and to create a new system, which is needed by the Immigration Department and could save the government close to RM1 billion in cost by pushing for open tender,” he said, further noting that the cabinet had approved his proposal after much discussion and consideration in November 2018.
“The Home Ministry saved the government close to RM1 billion.
“I will not compromise with corrupt practices and abuse of power. The Home Ministry will fully cooperate with MACC in its probe. I am not going to bow to any attempt to sabotage the government by hurling baseless allegations,” he said.