uCustoms vendor picked despite evaluation panel’s reservations

Chan Kok Leong Noel Achariam Ragananthini Vethasalam Diyana Ibrahim

The AG’s report said that although Brilliance Information had the lowest bid, its technical weakness caused the failure of the uCustoms project. – The Malaysian Insight pic, September 28, 2021.

THE Customs Department picked IT vendor Brilliance Information Sdn Bhd to build the Ubiquitous Customs (uCustoms) system despite reservations from the Technical Evaluation Committee, said the Auditor-General’s 2019 report.
The audit showed that the decision was made without considering the report made by the technical committee, said the report.
In the AG report on Federal government ministries and agencies which was tabled in Parliament today, the vendor Brilliance Solution came in fourth out of six shortlisted tender companies in terms of technical assessment and was lowest for component applications.
“The company’s integration proposal also did not clearly explain the job scope and implementation plan with no supporting documents,” said the AG.
On the infrastructure side, the company did not fulfil the server specifications needed.
“Instead the company had proposed a server rack instead of the needed chassis.”
The AG report said that Brilliance Information was fourth in terms of experience and was involved in nine other projects worth RM143.74 million.
“Moreover, the company did not provide its team members’ resumes and hence the technical evaluation committee could not ascertain the abilities of the company.”
However, in terms of pricing, Brilliance Information was second at RM317.78 million.
According to the AG, there were initially 18 bids for the job before it was shortlisted to six.

From those shortlisted, the Customs Department was asked to evaluate again and the agency picked Brilliance Information for the job because the company had successfully developed the MyGST system based on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product.
“The company’s success with MyGST would make it easier to integrate the MyGST system and the uCustoms system.”
On this matter, the Customs Department (in a reply dated February 5, 2021) said it had only proposed the company but the final decision was made by the Procurement division in the Ministry of Finance. 
The Customs Department said that the technical evaluation committee had supported all the COTS that was proposed for the uCustoms system.
“Based on this, the tender with the lowest offer was accepted as Brilliance Information although it was the second lowest bid. 
“The lowest bid said that it would prepare from end single window application and facilitate storage only,” said the Customs Department.
The AG’s report said that although Brilliance Information had the lowest bid, its technical weakness caused the failure of the uCustoms project.
While the AG report only provided the company’s registration number, a check with previous reports shows that the company is Brilliance Information Sdn Bhd, which designs IT solutions for organisations. 
Besides the Customs Department, the clients listed on its website include the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Agro Bank, the Selangor state government, the Royal Malaysian Police, PR1MA, Mampu, Attorney-General’s Chambers, MARA, the Shah Alam City Council and Tabung Haji.
According to the AG report, the failure to develop the uCustoms system has caused taxpayers to lose RM272.99 million. – September 28, 2021.

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