Ventilator Scandal: Clear establishment of parties responsible, accountability needed – Kelvin Yii

For illustration purpose: A temporary hospital set up during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia.
File photo of Bandar Kuching MP, Kelyin Yii.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31: More should be done to demand accountability and even clearly establish the different parties who are responsible for the “clear negligence” in the ventilator scandal, as exposed by the Auditor- General Report and affirmed by the recently released PAC (Public Accounts Committee) -report, says Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching, Dr. Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen.

Recalling the report’s revelation that Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd – a fully-owned subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Bhd, a government-linked company – had supplied the Ministry of Health (MOH) only 28 usable ventilators, or only 6 per cent of the government’s order of 500 ventilators, while 108 (from a total of 136 that were delivered to MOH facilities between April and May 2020) were not safe for use, with 93 of them defective, costing the government about RM13 million in losses.

The losses could not be recovered because no agreement was signed between Pharmaniaga Logistics and MOH on the company’s appointment, as the procurement was done under emergency procurement protocols and it was based on the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), Yii further said in a statement issued today, calling for a probe into how some basic steps of government procurement could have been overlooked in the purchase of the ventilators.

“While we understand that it was a time of emergency, but it does not give excuse to bypass basic fundamental procurement procedures and safeguards especially when it involves millions of public funds.

“From there we should identify personal who made decisions to forgo the need for the “most basic step” in any procurement process which is a signed contract or agreement which will give better legal protection for the Ministry of Health and the different parties that are involved against liability or incidents such as this,” said Yii, who is also special advisor to the Minister of Health.

“Were there proper due diligence done towards the suppliers in China on their ability, and competency to supply such important life saving equipments even during an emergency?

“Were there any undue influence for such suppliers to be chosen,” he asked, adding that the MACC should also look into the matter thoroughly.