Thursday, October 22, 2009

RM42,320 for a laptop

KUALA LUMPUR: Who in their right mind would pay RM42,320 for a laptop?

Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Balik Pulau in Penang not only paid the price but bought two units of the same brand – Acer Aspire-5052ANWXMI, at a whopping price of RM84,640, said the Auditor-General’s Report.

In addition, the college purchased 450 units of computer CAD with network card at RM3.45mil for 12 labs. Each 19-inch monitor costs RM8,500 while a 17-inch monitor costs RM7,500.

“A check with local companies showed that the market price for the latest model is between RM5,350 to RM6,500 each. Worse still the computers, Precision 390 Dell, that were supplied are no longer in the market,” it said.

Also purchased were 15 laser printers, Hewlet Packard P3005X, at the price of RM7,722 each when the market price was about RM5,000 per unit.

In reply, Mara said the equipment were purchased in a lump sump and there was no price breakdown for the laptops.

The price breakdown was only done after the equipment was supplied for the purpose assets record and it could not be used as a basis for reference.

“Nevertheless, Mara has created a task force and is conducting a price adjustment for all the equipment,” it said.

The report also stated that the college had paid between RM1,398 and RM2,945 for 204 teaching manuals.

“Checks found that the teaching manuals supplied were bound using comb binding. The teaching manuals obtained at a cost of RM358,476 is a waste because they were never used,” it said, adding that the supplier has been notified to provide the original version of the teaching manual in hard cover.

Mara also spent RM2.08mil buying computer software it didn’t need.

Audits also found many discrepancies in prices paid for the same equipment, including the same LCD projectors that costs RM3,500 and RM8,000 for two different laboratories.

“Swivel stools were also purchased at three different prices – RM340, RM350 and RM450 per unit and they did not even meet the agreed specifications in the agreement.

“Other swivel chairs were bought for between RM810 to RM1,050 per unit when the college had bought the same chair previously at RM336 per unit,” it said.

The report also stated that the German-Malaysian Institute which was picked as the consultant, had proposed a ceiling price of RM84.5mil for the purchase of equipment for the college while the Economic Planing Unit (EPU) fixed the price at RM127.65mil.

“The reason for the higher price was to speed up the process of obtaining the supplies. In the end the agreed contract was fixed at RM112.42mil. Mara had submitted a letter to the Finance Ministry to say that the figure was reasonable.

“Audit found that the agreed price for the purchase of equipment is not reasonable. This is because the approach taken by Mara did not fufill the criteria set by the Finance Ministry, which is to negotiate for the lowest price possible.

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