Immigration system to be awarded in Aug – here are 6 frontrunners

THE National Integrated Immigration System (NIIS) concession is expected to be awarded during the first week of Aug barring any last-minute changes, people familiar with the matter tell FocusM.

But concerns of political interference loom over the border security control project.

At RM1.2 bil, NIIS is possibly the largest public project this year. It is also highly complicated, requiring different modules as to the monitoring of foreigners in and out of the country.

To be sure, this is a steep discount to the initial RM3.5 bil price tag for NIIS’ predecessor, Sistem Kawalan Imigresen Nasional (SKIN), which was directly awarded to Prestariang Bhd.

SKIN would be cancelled under the Pakatan Harapan government as part of its review of mega-projects. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was then home minister and he called for a request for proposal (RFP).

But intense lobbying from certain participants, with some even pledging a portion of their annual revenue, as well as political pressure have been some of the issues insiders have raised as the race to bag the lucrative concession heats up.

“All we want is for the tender to be awarded to the company that scored the best in both financial and technical evaluations,” a source said.

If politics takes centre stage, Malaysians will witness more taxes wasted. The current Malaysian Integrated Immigration System (myIMMs) operated by listed company Heitech Padu Bhd, which also received the concession through direct negotiation, had been a drag to public coffers.

Close to RM600 mil had been spent on myIMMs since Heitech was awarded the project in 2010. The various Auditor-General’s Reports is a good reference on how unstable the programme is, leading to multiple incidents of sabotage and shutdowns.

Naturally, this means the Immigration Department could not account for the hundreds of thousands of foreigners who have entered the country. According to the AG’s Report 2018 Series 3, myIMMs could not account for 198,479 foreigners who entered the country through various long-term immigration passes as at April this year.

Since not only taxpayers’ money but also national security is at stake, participating companies would have to ensure two things: there are no cost overruns and that the system is stable and functional.

Here are the profiles of the six NIIS frontrunners:

Dagang Net Technologies Sdn Bhd

As its name suggests, this is a wholly owned unit of listed company Dagang Nexchange Bhd. It was incorporated on Jan 18, 1989, with a paid-up capital of RM50.17 mil.

Dagang Net’s flagship is the National Single Window for Trade Facilitation (NSW), a public project of which it had been the concessionaire since 2009.

In a nutshell, the NSW is a platform that connects traders with the Customs Department and relevant agencies for import and export document processing.

Dagang Net recently received an extension of the contract for two years from Sept 1, 2019, to Aug 31, 2021.

Over its last five financial years, from 2014 to 2018, Dagang Net has been posting net profits of RM17.94 mil, RM20.61 mil, RM33.07 mil, RM32.09 mil, RM27.68 mil respectively.

Its directors are Samsul Husin, Osman Percy King Jones @ Abu Bakar, Abdul Khalil Abdullah, Mohamed Hazli Mohamed Hussain, and Md Saffi Nadzir.

Aside from Dagang Net, other DNex subsidiaries include DNex Solutions Sdn Bhd, a system integrator that has implemented projects worth RM2 bil for the Ministry of Education.

Also, Innovation Associates Consulting Sdn Bhd (IAC) which is the concessionaire of the Government Financial Management and Accounting System (GF-MAS). It’ is understood that IAC also threw a bid for the NIIS.

Mindmatics Sdn Bhd

A closely held corporation, Mindmatics brands itself a “boutique information technology house.” It was incorporated in 2001 with a paid-up capital of RM5 mil.

The company has been posting profits over the last five financial years (2012-2017) of RM35,055, RM656, 351, RM537,297, RM7.89 mil and RM30.33 mil respectively.

According to company filings, the company’s directors are Abdul Wahab Sulaiman and Asfazura Mohd Dhany. Both are 50:50 shareholders.

Mindmatics’ core businesses revolve around providing integrated IT solutions across different segments such as command centre management and cybersecurity.

Infomina Sdn Bhd

Infomina was incorporated on June 11, 2007, with a paid-up capital of RM5 mil. The company provides maintenance and support services for various IT segments.

On Infomina’s official website, among the services the company provides are surveillance, perimeter detection and green energy.

The company has been posting a net profit across its latest five financial years, from 2015 to 2019, of RM377,803, RM284,915, RM804,315, RM1.14 mil and RM3.6 mil respectively.

Infomina’s directors are Mohd Hoshairy Alias, Nasimah Mohd Zain, Lim Leong Ping @ Raymond Lim and Yee Chee Meng. The company’s directors double up as shareholders with Nasimah and Hoshairy with a 30% stake each, followed by Lim and Yee with 20% each.

Scicom MSC Bhd

Listed player Scicom is known for providing end-to-end solutions for foreign student visa processing.

In Nov 2012, the group was appointed by the Ministry of Education to provide the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) system which processes visas of foreign students by integrating databases of various government agencies.

With the EMGS, foreign students are expected to have their visas approved within seven days as opposed to the usual four-month period.

Scicom has been posting profits for the past five financial years, from 2014 to 2019, at RM22.4 mil, RM34.69 mil, RM41.6 mil, RM31.91 mil and RM20 mil respectively.

Scicom’s chief executive officer and group executive director is Leo Suresh Arinayakam, a Sri Lankan.

Among Scicom’s substantial shareholders, according to its 2019 annual report, are Leo with a 25.33% stake, his private vehicle Netinsat Asia Sdn Bhd at 19.28% and Employees Provident Fund at 4.99%.

Scicom’s market capitalisation is at RM387.44 mil at the time of writing.

Agmo Studio Sdn Bhd (MyEG)

E-government services MyEG Services Bhd owns a 25% in the company through Agmo Holdings Sdn Bhd. Also Agmo Studio operates out of MyEG’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

Agmo Studio was incorporated on Jan 11, 2012, and has a paid-up capital of RM350,000. It brands itself as a financial services company that offers cryptocurrency solutions. Some of its corporate clients are Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Mah Sing Group Bhd.

It has been posting net profits across its latest five-year financials, from 2014 to 2019, of RM1.13 mil, RM2.04 mil, RM634,757, RM1.32 mil and RM2.43 mil respectively.

Agmo Studio’s directors include Tan Aik Keong, Low Kang Wen and Chong Chien Ming while its only shareholder is Agmo Holdings, of which MyEG is a substantial shareholder.

Also worth noting that MyEG’s founder Wong Thean Soon and business partner Norraesah Mohamad are substantial shareholders of Heitech through their vehicle Asia Internet Holdings Sdn Bhd with a 10.4% stake. Norraesah was an Umno supreme council member from 2000 to 2013.

Iris Corp Bhd

Iris had its major break after the group helped Malaysia become the first country to deploy e-passports in 1998 using proprietary technology.

However, that was eclipsed through a series of missteps, including acquiring various non-core businesses, such as the acquisition of Seri Stamford College.

Iris has said in a few media reports that the group is on the divestment trail as it wants to focus on its core business of trusted identity verification solutions space.

There was also the arrest of then deputy managing director Hamdan Hassan by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Hamdan would retire in 2017 and would be cleared of wrongdoing by the MACC.

The group’s latest five-year financials, from 2015 to 2019, is also the weakest in this list.

The group posted net losses of RM17.25 mil, RM12.19 mil, RM306.82 mil and RM128.05 mil for the years 2015-2018 respectively. But it jumped into the black for FY19 with a net profit of RM40 mil.

Recently, Iris proposed a private placement of up to 10% of its issued shares for an illustrative price of 12.38 sen to raise up to RM36.7 mil.

Iris’ president and group managing director is Paul Poh Yang Hong while its chief executive officer is Shaiful Zahrin Subhan.

Substantial shareholders include Poh’s investment vehicle Orientalgold Equity Sdn Bhd with a 11.84% stake as well as tycoon Vincent Tan Chee Yioun’s son Robin Tan Yeong Chin at 9.80% and Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd at 4.14%. Umno businessman Rozamujib Abdul Rahman @ Rozabil has a 1.45% stake in the company.

Iris Corp’s market capitalisation stood at RM889.64 mil at the time of writing. – July 27, 2020

By Emmanuel Samarathisa – FOCUS MALAYSIA

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