MP demands accountability for ventilator scandal amidst lost public funds, defective equipment that endangered patients

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Oct 31: The responsible parties in the ventilator scandal during the Covid-19 pandemic must be held accountable as this is no simple procurement process that should be done through WhatsApp, considering that RM13 million in public funds was lost and could not be recovered.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has demanded that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigate this issue thoroughly, particularly if due diligence was conducted on the China supplier of the defective ventilators procured by the Ministry of Health (MOH) through Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB) and furthermore, in the absence of a signed agreement.

He was referring to a report released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), where it was discovered that MOH bought more than 100 faulty ventilators during the peak of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 but could not hold any party liable because there was no written agreement.

According to the report, the deals on the emergency procurement of ventilators had to be done through WhatsApp due to the sheer urgency of the situation.

The report revealed that 108 out of the 136 ventilators supplied by PLSB to MOH were defective with only 28 units usable or just six per cent of the government’s order of 500 ventilators.

“While we understand that it was a time of emergency, but it is not an excuse to bypass basic fundamental procurement procedures and safeguards, especially when dealing with substantial public funds.

“We should identify the person who made the decision to forgo the need to sign a contract or agreement which would have given better legal protection for the MOH and the different parties involved against liability or incidents such as this,” he said.

While the current MOH leadership is taking measures to prevent such incidents in the future and ensure adherence to fundamental governmental procedures in future dealings, he emphasised said this matter cannot be taken lightly or swept under the carpet.

“The different parties involved have to answer and be accountable.

“The life-saving equipment were so vital during the Covid-19 pandemic, and such negligence not only caused wastage of public funds, but more importantly, may have compromised the quality of patient care, which may have potentially resulted in the loss of precious lives,” he added. — DayakDaily