'Procurement of ventilators took place in 2020, I became health minister in Aug 2021' [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has distanced himself over the issue of the absence of written agreement in the procurement of Covid-19 ventilators.

In the recent episode of his weekly podcast dubbed 'Keluar Sekejap' with former Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan, Khairy said despite not wanting to 'pass the buck' to anyone, the procurement of ventilators was not conducted under his supervision as the ministry in charge at the time.

"This is very simple, the procurement of ventilators took place in 2020, whereas I became the health minister in Aug 2021.

"Hence, I don't even know why you are talking to me (referring to those who questioned him) about the ventilator.

"I am not trying to also throw anyone under the bus, but I was not even in the seat, how do I take responsibility for the ventilator issue?" he said.

On Monday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that no action could be taken over the 104 defective Covid-19 ventilators supplied to the government, following the absence of a written agreement between the Health Ministry and Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB).

In the report published by PAC, the committee said PLSB was also instructed to make advance payments for ventilators following its existing relationship with the ministry, despite not having experience and expertise in medical equipment procurement.

The report also mentioned that the procurement of the 136 ventilator units occurred between April 1 to May 19, 2020.

Meanwhile, in the same episode, Khairy, nevertheless said he took full responsibility over the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

He added that various views had been taken into account, including getting the cabinet's approval and views from the Attorney-General at the time for the procurement of 83 million vaccines, including booster doses.

He also said he had been summoned by PAC twice to get his statement recorded over the issue.

"I made an estimation to purchase 83 million vaccine doses and this is not a secret. I have presented the proposal to the cabinet as well as PAC members, including the opposition MPs at the time, who were from PKR and DAP.

"The criticism that I received, however, was there was not much purchase of vaccines and they wanted us to buy more.

"However, I told them that this was the public's money and even though I had a responsibility as the minister in charge of the immunisation programme, I don't want to waste money."

PAC, in the same report, revealed that there are still a total of 8.5 million vaccine doses worth RM505 million that have expired as of June 1, this year, despite the expiry dates of the vaccines being extended to 18 months from the date it was produced.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories