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Health Ministry given two months to respond to PAC's Covid-19 management report
Published on: Thursday, November 02, 2023
By: Malay Mail
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Health Ministry given two months to respond to PAC's Covid-19 management report
The PAC report is a revelation to the government to take action accordingly since PAC has no authority to charge, says its chairpersonan Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin. (Malay Mail pic)
Kuala Lumpur: The Health Ministry has been given two months to respond to the five recommendations given by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its report related to Covid-19 management.

After the PAC holds a response proceeding, the committee will table a follow-up action report regarding the issue which will include the Health Ministry’s response to the PAC, in Parliament.

“The PAC report is a revelation to the government to take action accordingly since PAC has no authorities to charge, instead the PAC will give recommendations to the government so that they can make improvements to their governance whether in the aspect of management or procurement,” PAC chairman Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin said today.

On October 30, PAC released a report on the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically on expired vaccines, unusable ventilators, and a surplus of personal protective equipment (PPE) under the Health Ministry.

In the report, the PAC found that no party could be held accountable for the 104 unusable ventilators out of the 136 procured for patients.

The report also found that this was due to an absence of a written agreement between the Health Ministry and supplier Pharmaniaga Logistic Sdn Bhd (PLSB).

According to the PAC report, no contract was drawn up between the Health Ministry and PLSB regarding the procurement of ventilators and the ministry’s legal adviser was not consulted during the process of preparing the PLSB appointment letter.

In the PAC report, the committee, through proceedings conducted on June 15, August 22, September 14, and September 21 this year, found that PLSB supplied various brands of ventilators from China and this was the first time that the Health Ministry bought these brands of ventilators from China.

The Health Ministry had to procure ventilators from China due to an insufficient supply of ventilators.

The PAC also said it found that the problem with all the ventilators was that the plugs of the ventilators received — Type A — were different from the electrical outlets used in Malaysia, which is Type G.

A total of 12 witnesses were called: Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, Auditor-General Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi, Deputy Auditor-General (Performance) Hajah Patimah Ramuji, Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Sri Norazman Ayob (Finance), former Health Ministry secretary-general (Finance) Datuk Seri Chen Chaw Min, former Health Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, former Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, former head of division medical services development Datin Seri Dr Asmah Samat, Pharmaniaga Berhad chairman Izaddeen Daud, Pharmaniaga Berhad chairman, exco Ahmad Shahredzuan Mohd Shariff, Pharmaniaga Berhad former managing director Datuk Farshila Emran and Pharmaniaga Berhad chief operating officer Mohamed Iqbal Abdul Rahman.

It was reported that it cost the Health Ministry RM13.07 million as it could not claim compensation for 93 units due to the absence of procurement documentation between the supplier and the ministry.

As for the expired vaccines, the PAC report found that the low take-up on the vaccines especially booster shots and late arrival of vaccine doses into the country, was the cause of excess vaccines eventually expiring before being used.

The PAC reported the expiry of 8.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of June 15, 2023, worth RM505 million.

On the excess of PPE, the PAC found that while the bulk of the PPE can be utilised before its expiry date, there is a risk of 850,000 units of boot covers worth RM927,000, expiring by the end of 2024 if not used.

Earlier, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa noted PAC’s recommendations and said her ministry will take action on areas specifically procurement processes, even if the procurement occurs during an emergency.

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