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KUCHING, May 24: The public is not against reasonable spending by the government for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pick), but they expect quality services especially after the unpleasant online registration process for AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccines experienced by many yesterday (May 26).
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, in stating this, urged the government through Pick coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin to reveal a more detailed expenditure breakdown of the RM5 billion allocation from the National Trust Fund (KWAN) for the entire Pick operation and RM70 million allocation for Pick’s data integration and appointment system.
“This is in view of certain quarters questioning whether the total RM70 million allocated for the NCIP data integration and appointment system is justified especially after yesterday’s AZ registration fiasco,” he said.
Acknowledging Khairy’s openness to reveal that the sum was a ceiling level set by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and it included other deliverables including management and monitoring of Pick’s progress and development of a dashboard for daily reporting, he said there must be greater transparency in these expenditures to avoid risk of abuse and possible profiteering.
Dr Yii, who is also the chairman for the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Health, Science and Innovation, emphasised that “extraordinary times call for extraordinary transparency” when there are serious doubts from the public on the effectiveness and efficiency of the immunisation programme.
“On top of that, from the breakdown of the RM70 million, it also includes expenditures for the (Pick) Hotline and calling centres.
“For the past weeks, we have been receiving non-stop complaints on the official JKJAV (Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply) Hotline where many failed to call in or connections get cut off when they have an inquiry or also to make changes to appointment time and dates.
“We are made to understand that such services were outsourced by the government to a third-party, but it is their responsibility to monitor to make sure quality is constantly being maintained,” he said in a statement today.
Questioning the RM70 million allocation in view of its deliverables, he thus urged the Parliament to be reconvened to allow such important decisions to be debated and scrutinised while a PSC is allowed to provide parliamentary oversight over the vaccine rollout during the pandemic. — DayakDaily