Both ruling, opposition Sarawakian reps demand explanation on faulty ventilators during pandemic

Dr Annuar (left) and Dr Yii.

KUCHING, Feb 17: An assistant minister who demanded an explanation from the Ministry of Health (MoH) on defective ventilators being sent to Sarawak two years ago has yet to get a response from the Ministry.

Education and Innovation Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee who was then Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister voiced out his displeasure during the peak of Covid-19 when eight out of 10 ventilators received by Sarawak were found to be dysfunctional.

During that time, he lambasted MoH for these malfunctioning ventilators and demanded an explanation, while also suggesting that stern disciplinary action be taken against those responsible.

“Since this statement was issued by me on March 20, 2021, there has been no response from MoH.

“I am glad that Kuching MP (Dr Kelvin Yii) brought up the issue again in Parliament,” said Dr Annuar today when he came across Dr Yii’s statement demanding serious action be taken on responsible parties following revelations by the Auditor-General’s (AG) report that 108 out of 136 (68 per cent) ventilators supplied by a company to public healthcare facilities under the Ministry of Health (MOH) during the Covid-19 pandemic period were unusable.

Dr Yii slammed that such “negligence” not only caused a waste of public funds but, more importantly, may have compromised the quality of patient care, which may have even caused the loss of lives.

According to the AG’s report, Pharmaniaga Logistic — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s leading pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Bhd — supplied only 28 usable ventilators or merely six per cent of the government’s order of 500 ventilators.

The 108 ventilators the company supplied to MOH facilities between 2020 and April 2022 were deemed unusable.

Dr Yii claimed that this caused not only an estimated loss of RM13.07 million of precious funds but may have contributed to the possible loss of lives that could have easily been avoided if healthcare workers had the required medical equipment during that critical period. — DayakDaily