It has been an 8 year pursuit and this blog actually given up exposing the wrongdoings in the tender, project implementation and repeated delay of the new system for Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) called uCustoms.
Its late but finally it is not never. The law has caught up on the suspiciously corrupted project.
Media did not reveal details, but it is no secret. The whole IT industry, trading community and freight service providers knows.
This blog revealed back in 2013 the name and company as Salehodin Majid and Sri Damansara located Brilliance Information Sdn Bhd.
The government Department MACC should pursue would naturally be RMCD, but the planning and bid proposal evaluation was done by MAMPU. The tender committee was represented by RMCD, MAMPU and MOF.
MP for Kepong, Lim Lip Eng urged MACC to investigate senior government officers and Ministers. Nga Kor Meng tweeted Malay Mail Online report.
DAP's Ong Kian Meng picked on this blog to raise the issue in Parliament on November 2013. MOF official lied in their response to Kian Meng. Despite the lead start, DAP lost any sense of ownership on the issue.
When Lim Guan Eng took over the Ministry of Finance, DAP had the chance to uncover this wrongdoing but they bought into MAMPU's assurance the problem will be resolved in six months time.
It never did.
The "u" in uCustoms is for ubiquitous. RMC website explained ubiquitous means a system having the capacity to be "present, appearing, or found everywhere".
When completed, uCustoms was supposed to offer consistent operating procedures, national single window feature, cost savings on transactions, automate manual processes, ease of information/data sharing, and enable working remotely.
It was promoted as the wunderkind solution in 2013. The then retiring Director General of the RMCD, Dato’ Sri Khazali bin Haji Ahmad was amazed with the front-end appearance of gadget the system that Brilliance had offered.
He may have pretended not able to differentiate between system and tool.
Or actually had no inkling on system development problems with taking a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution for a system already operating and process well established for more than 30 years.
COTS system means documentation, procedures and process have to adapt to the system and not the other way around. It could be customised but not extensive and overcost in the multiple.
Khazali gloated then that the new system "will enable effective information-sharing, streamlined procedures, and genuine collaboration among all agencies involved in the clearance process".
For all that to happen, the system has to be completely built and working fine.
Eight years down the road, it is finally splashed all over the media that the system remain uncompleted. CEO of the company was arrested Friday and court granted remand order.
The industry had long known of the failure of uCustoms.
When DNex informed Bursa Malaysia to confirm receiving extension to operate the trade facilitation system for 3 years in March 2021, it is an official announcement that the uCustoms is officially cancelled.
Wonder whether the retired Khazali is happily retired and prosperous.
It is an open secret that several MAMPU officers involved in evaluating the bids quit to join the company and a collusion suspiciously exist between the Brilliance and MAMPU insiders.
There was a later DG to RMCD that turned sceptical of uCustoms but MAMPU continued to be defensive and insistent that it continue.
The public may be temporarily flabbergasted that Brilliance was paid RM272 million out of the RM397.43 million contract value despite not able to complete the project.
NST reported the project that commenced in October 2014 was extended 5 times. By now, it is probably in the teens.
As of 2018, the project missed the deadline for January 1st 2016, April 1st 2016, January 1st 2017, June 1st 2017, and September 1st 2017.
Brilliance not only failed to complete but industry talk is it could not deliver the first phase for registration and broker affair.
The company promised to concurrently launched 64 modules and in several phases. It did not but still being paid progressive payment!
Brilliance won the bid in 2013 despite not fairing high technically and commercially. They won the bid at RM317.8 million but it is now revealed the contract value was adjusted to RM397.43 million.
Despite not delivering and being paid progressive payment, the contract value was VOed to be adjusted upward.
Since Brilliance failed to deliver for November 1st 2015, RMCD had to continue to use the old but tested and reliable Sistem Maklumat Kastam.
Instead of spending to update the system and keep up with latest technology, government spend on a totally new uCustoms system and also spend money for running both system.
The cost to taxpayer is not only RM272 million but more the cost to ensure the payment system for RM60 billion of government revenue for 2018 did not fail.
MACC should also investigate Ministry of Finance and retired high ranking government officers involved in the Company.
Brilliance have been the talk of the industry for several years. If Auditor General office not exposed it in the 2019 report, all parties would have preferred to keep their mouth shut.