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MP questions billions in contracts 'quietly' awarded by Immigration

Published:  |  Modified:

DAP lawmaker Steven Sim has raised concerns over major new contracts being given out discreetly by the Immigration Department, which is helmed by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"From last year onwards, it looks as if massive new contracts were given out to a few closely-linked government contractors.

"These contracts totalled up to billions, and are mostly given without open tender despite the crisis facing our Immigration Department.

"Information about these contracts is not available in the public domain.

"Ahmad Zahid had declared at least one of the deals as an 'official secret' which cannot be given even to members of parliament who enquired in the Dewan Rakyat," said Sim, who is the Bukit Mertajam MP in a statement.

He compiled available information on some of the major deals that have been awarded since January last year, gleaned from media announcements and government and corporate reports, he said.

Though details are scant, he said, the collated information is enough to paint a picture that a "strong undercurrent" is taking place in the past one year in the Immigration Department.

'Lucrative contracts, bad record'

He said according to the information he has compiled, companies such as MyEG had been given "lucrative contracts despite bad track record", including being guilty of violating the Competition Act 2010.

The company had also broken Immigration laws previously, he said, as confirmed by the Immigration Department and the auditor-general by illegally allowing the renewal of almost 9,000 foreigners in 2013 and 2014.

Meanwhile, another company, Bestinet, which was suspended in January last year, has quietly resumed its service, first to industrial workers and then expanded to domestic helpers since July this year, said Sim.

He also brought up HeiTech Padu Bhd, which he said created and ran the "now infamous" application Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMS) which was allegedly sabotaged over a period of six years, allowing a number of illegal entries into the country.

Sim said that without proper post-mortem, a new company, Prestariang Bhd, has been appointed to completely overhaul the MyIMMS.

It was first announced to be a RM6 billion contract but was later divided into smaller jobs, with the first contract costing RM400 to RM500 million.

Passport printing boon

The final example he provided was Datasonic Group Bhd, which he said was given half-a-billion-ringgit worth of contracts within the first five months of 2016, including fully taking over the printing of passports from the government's National Printing Department (NPD) by the end of this year.

He added that the current transition period between the change of vendors was plagued with problems such as shortage of passports all over the country and new passports being unable to scan at the Immigration e-gates.

"I have been highlighting the terrible state of our Immigration Department.

"On the one hand, our loose border control allows between two and three million undocumented migrants into this country, while on the other, the 'disorganised, haphazard, random and senseless' migrant workers policy messed up our own job market," Sim said.

Despite all this, he said that the Home Ministry helmed by Ahmad Zahid, who is also the deputy prime minister, has been quietly but actively awarding new major contracts.

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