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Sunday, August 31, 2008

NS deals led to RM110m loss

National Service shirkers and a very “rigid” contract have caused the Government losses of up to RM110.1mil from 2004 to last year, the 2007 Auditor-General’s report said.

Over the four years, the audit found that 63,417 people failed to attend the programme for various reasons, which led to the Government having to fork out the money to camp operators due to the way the contract was set out.

The contract spelt out that the Government would pay rent for the use of equipment and facilities for between 690 and 890 trainees for 2004 and between 300 and 400 trainees for 2005 and beyond.

The fee, per trainee, worked out to RM30 in the peninsula and RM41 in Sabah and Sarawak for 2004. In 2005, it cost RM25 in peninsula and RM34.30 in Sabah and Sarawak.

This meant that the Government had to pay for the stated number of trainees in the contract even if the number of trainees turning up was less or more than the figure stipulated in the agreement.

“Every year, between 16% and 23% of those called up to join the programme did not turn up. The ministry must review the contract conditions regarding how many trainees are allocated to each camp,” the report said.

It added that the ministry should also have a backup name list as there had to be a stop to the losses due to people not turning up for training.

“The NS Training Department also has to double-check its name list with the relevant authorities before putting out the roll call,” it said.

Among the reasons those called up did not attend were: a change in address, still studying, sole bread-winners, disabled, did not receive notices, died, overseas, in the army, health problems or have attended NS before.

In its reply, the ministry said it was in the midst of reviewing the contracts, adding that the department would be increasing the number of trainees next year to 140,000 to make up for any shortfall.

The audit also found that RM57mil in arrears had yet to be collected from camp operators for advances they had taken to construct the camps.

The audit also checked on certain camps from various angles such as the suitability of its location, cleanliness, food quality and quality of equipment supplied.

It found that the Beringin Beach camp in Langkawi was unsuitable because high tides often flooded dormitories and left a classroom unusable.

For the Wawasan camp in Sabah, camp operators told the audit team that it was difficult to obtain fresh fish to cook for the trainees but the audit team found it otherwise at the Kota Kinabalu market.

The audit also found that T-shirts, track pants, baseball caps and sports shoes supplied under contracts worth RM41.12mil were of low quality.

Source: The Star

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