Ministry of Education has breached contract over Frog VLE, says YTL Communications

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): YTL Power International Bhd’s 60%-owned YTL Communications Sdn Bhd has claimed that the Ministry of Education as being in breach of contractual obligations.

In a statement today, YTL Communications said it has invested more than RM4 billion in building up the infrastructure in schools for a 15-year project for the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (Frog VLE).

The company has approval from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to operate a 2.3 GHz WiMAX wireless broadband network in Malaysia.

Providing a background on the matter, YTL Communications said that when the Ministry announced on June 27, 2019 that it had awarded the interim services to Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Celcom Axiata Group Bhd and Maxis Bhd, it had come to it as a complete surprise.

“The Ministry had excluded YTL Communications, reneged on its statement to call an open tender and agreed to pay for the internet services to the 3 appointed ISPs, although we had offered the services for free,” it said.

The company said it was its legitimate expectation that it would be given an extension of the contract into the next phase.

“We view the Ministry’s actions as being in breach of their contractual obligations to us. Disappointingly, they have not acted in good faith, in respect of what we have been informed and what has actually been implemented. 

“We remain committed to serving the nation in this very critical sector of our nation and believe we have a continued role to play,” it said.  

YTL Communications said while it is still seeking clarity, the company is again shocked to learn on June 28 of a post that appeared on the Facebook page of “Friends of Maszlee Malik” that gave 7 reasons why the 1BestariNet project should be terminated. 

“This article, which may have been using the Minister’s name without his knowledge, contained points which we deem as false and slanderous,” it said.

As responsible corporate citizens and not seeking to disrupt Internet services to those schools, YTL Communcations said it had written to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik on May 31, 2019, confirming it would provide a complete solution of free Internet services, as well as the Frog VLE for the interim period until the tender was called and awarded.

The firm said the 1BestariNet project was awarded to YTL Communications in 2011, after an open tender for a 15-year service contract to be implemented in phases.

It said the scope of works included providing a total learning solution comprising internet connectivity, security and Frog VLE.

“It was intended that a review would be undertaken after each phase, before reaching agreement on the next phase,” it said.