PAC: Probe ship that cannot sail

THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigate the procurement of a multi-million-ringgit research vessel by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) which cannot set sail.

PAC, in its report tabled in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, also recommended for action to be taken against several high ranking officials from UMT over the cost overrun of RM2.4mil.

The university’s former vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Abd Aziz Deraman and its development director Prof Datuk Dr Sulaiman Md were among the officials identified by PAC over the alleged mismanagement.

“PAC is unhappy with the procurement management which failed to meet the targeted objective.

“PAC found that officials involved were careless and inefficient in discharging their duties.

“Every decision and action is seen to be siding the contractor (Kaymarine Sdn Bhd) and has aroused doubts as well as gives an impression that there has been a suspicious breach of conduct.”

In its report, PAC termed the procurement of RV Discovery as “projek sakit” or a problematic project.

“Although the ship was completed, it is a research ship as per the contract’s original objective and it is a waste,” read the report.

The university commissioned the construction of the research vessel in 2004 for RRM11.99mil for the purpose of teaching, learning and research.

The Economic Planning Unit approved the scope of the procurement via the Ninth Malaysia Plan with a ceiling price of RM12.5mil.

However, the project went through two rectifications that led to the costs ballooning to RM14.39mil.

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