Govt needs to improve procurement process during times of Emergency, says Deputy Health Minister


KUALA LUMPUR: No agreement was needed for Emergency procurement during Covid-19, which could have led to the supplier taking advantage of the situation by providing defective ventilators, says Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni.

He said the circulars from the Treasury related to Emergency expenditure and procurement did not require the ministry to prepare an agreement prior to the purchase.

“This could be a reason that the supplier took advantage of the situation by supplying ventilators which did not meet the specifications of the Health Ministry,” he said.

He added that the ventilators were bought on a cash and carry basis. The ministry had also placed orders based on brochures and catalogues instead of physically inspecting the equipment given the limited mobility due to Covid-19.

Lukanisman (Sibuti-GPS) said the ventilators were dispatched directly to the facilities.

He added that the high demand for medical equipment during Covid-19 led to a surge in prices.

“The equipment price increased by up to four times from the actual price and it was on a take it or leave it basis,” he said.

He said the Health Ministry had agreed for 104 ventilators to be replaced based on the maintenance cost. He said close to 500 ventilators procured were fully functional.

Ventilators which cannot be upgraded has been disposed to technical training centres.

Meanwhile, RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) asked if action can be taken against the suppliers and whether they can be blacklisted from supplying any more equipment to the ministry.

Lukanisman said an orderly procurement process is needed in case there is another emergency.

“I hope the Public Accounts Committee will have proceedings on this issue,” he said.

The Auditor-General’s Report 2021 Series 2 released in February revealed that 108 units of ventilators procured during the emergency could not be used while only 28 were working.

This cost the ministry RM13.07mil as it could not claim compensation for 93 units due to the absence of procurement documentation between the supplier and the ministry.

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