Boarding schools were supplied dry ingredients that were expired for as long as 427 days under the national food supply programme, 'Bekalan Makanan Bermasak' (BMB)
In total, 28 dry ingredients in 13 out of 42 school samples had no expiration dates, and those that did were long past their 'best before' dates, according to the Auditor-General's Report 2018 Series 3 that was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, 14 July, reported New Straits Times.
"This is because there was no inspection done by the contractor or the dormitory supervisor on the expired stocks and the stock production methods used by the contractors that did not use the 'First In First Out' (FIFO) concept," stated the report.
"This can cause food poisoning among students."
The third series of the Auditor-General (AG) report said that the physical audit was done from February to March 2019 at 42 boarding schools in Sabah, Kelantan, and Johor.
The AG report stated that the implementation of the BMB programme was neither effective nor efficient
The audit evaluated the BMB programme from 2016 to 2018, covering two main areas which were its performance and programme management.
The purpose of the audit was because the Ministry of Education (MOE) was allocated RM3.667 billion for this programme to provide boarding school students with quality food that was sufficient, clean, and balanced.
Instead, apart from the expired foodstuff, some other ingredients had foreign matter in them such as ants and dust, some food no halal logo on them, there was an inadequacy of raw food supplies, and storage for surplus fish was not fresh.
It was also noted that menus were often changed without written approval from the school principal 24 hours in advance and the brand of ingredients supplied were different from prior written contracts.
Furthermore, the audit found that appointed tenderers for the BMB programme were found to have falsified bank statements to the MOE
The report noted that the MOE received 359 falsified bank statements from tenderers and did not verify the submitted copies before issuing sales and services tax (SST).
However, the audit found that the ministry later took action by issuing 162 Purpose of Termination (NTP) notices starting from July 2019.
"After the Ministry of Education received and evaluated the contractor's feedback, 145 Termination Notices (NP) were issued to the contractors involved," it said, as quoted from The Star.
The report also noted that the MOE too had made a complaint to the Ministry of Finance and had its investigation report submitted to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
You can view the full 541-page AG report here.