Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Still lot to answer for, too premature for KJ's return

The Tengku Mahkota Johor praised Khairy Jamaluddin last night on Keluar Sekejap podcast and suggested he return back to UMNO. Unfortunately for Khairy, his charm exercise was short-lived and  feel good factor immediately doused.  

It was yesterday that the PAC announced their findings on the over purchase of Sinovac vaccines worth more than half a billion. This was the transaction that resulted in profitable listed company controlled by the armed Forces Retirement Fund, Phamaniaga to turn PN17. 

Already saddled with the losses and debt accumulated by Boustead, LTAT had to be restructured. In August. LTAT annoounced disposing of 33% plus 1 share in Boustead Plantation to KL Kepong Berhad. Early this month, Anwar got cold feet and cancelled it. Government offer a letter of comfort to bridge till relisting of the restructured and new public listed entity.  

Fingers are pointing at Khairy to explain how Phamaniaga could have committed to such huge and undocumented purchases. There must have been an instruction or oral commitment from a high government official. 

He was specifically appointed by Muhyiddin to attend to the vaccine purchases at MOSTI and later at MOH. Was he entrusted for his past "track records" in procurements and ability to protect Muhyiddin's interest?  

The Star reported:

RM505mil worth of Covid-19 vaccines wasted

Cost overrun: 8.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines procured by the Health Ministry were expired as of June 1, 2023.


Tuesday, 31 Oct 2023

PETALING JAYA: A total 8.5 million Covid-19 vaccine doses worth RM505mil went to waste after expiring in June this year, says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The total projected vaccine requirement was 83.3 million doses, of which 72.8 million had been used, which was 88% of the projection, according to its report on the management of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Health Ministry had procured vaccines based on its projections on the number of doses needed, but decreased demand for vaccinations, delays in receiving vaccines and excess vaccines donated to Malaysia by foreign countries had led to an oversupply, the PAC said.

It was also informed that the Health Ministry had taken measures to reduce wastage of Covid-19 vaccines including donating 1.89 million doses to foreign countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Other measures were increasing access to vaccination through institutions, social media promotions on booster doses, engagement sessions with community leaders, and briefing sessions with other government agencies.

“Although the expiration date was extended up to 18 months from the date the Covid-19 vaccine was produced, there were still 8.5 million vaccine doses worth RM505mil which expired as of June 1, 2023.

“Factors behind the excess vaccines were a low response to Covid-19 vaccination, particularly booster doses done on a voluntary basis, as well as the fear of vaccine side effects due to the spread of inaccurate information.

“Vaccines that were ordered also did not arrive according to schedule due to high global demand,” it added.

The PAC’s report on its investigations into expired vaccines, defective ventilators and excess personal protective equipment (PPE) under the Health Ministry was published on the Parliament website yesterday.

Besides vaccine wastage, the PAC also found that 850,000 units of PPE boot covers due to expire at the end of 2024 were at risk of being wasted if they remain unused.

“The total stock of boot covers as of June 9, 2023 is 2.23 million and the remaining stock is expected to last until the end of 2025 based on the current usage rate.

“However, there is a risk of an excess of 850,000 units of boot covers, which will expire at the end of 2024, worth RM927,000, if they are not used before the expiry date,” said its report.

The PAC also said there were 640,000 units of protective suits or coveralls in stock as of June 9, with the remaining stock expected to last until mid-2026 based on the current usage rate.

The cause of the significant excess of boot covers and protective suits had been due to the review of the guidelines for the use of PPE through a circular by the Health director-general on Feb 16, 2022.

The circular no longer recommended the use of protective suits as they did not provide additional protection compared with isolation gowns or liquid-resistant aprons.

There was also no recommendation for the use of boot covers for activities such as screening, prevention, control and treatment of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“These amendments were based on the latest scientific developments and findings of Covid-19 management by the World Health Organisation (WHO) through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and also related studies,” the report stated.

The PAC said that the Health Ministry must ensure that the excess PPE is utilised before the expiry date.

It also said the government must play a role in ensuring the local industry is able to produce medical equipment and pharmaceuticals to avoid dependence on foreign countries in empowering the public healthcare system.  

There is also the nagging issue of ventilators ordered that was not working:

Ventilator deal was no-contract’


Tuesday, 31 Oct 2023

PAC report: Machines to tackle pandemic were procured via WhatsApp

PETALING JAYA: Deals on the emergency procurement of ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic was done over WhatsApp, a departure from the norm, revealed a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the management of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Although 104 out of the 136 ventilators supplied by Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB) to the Health Ministry at a total cost of RM24.1mil ended up being unusable, no party was able to take responsibility because no contract had been drawn up, read the report.

The Health Ministry’s legal adviser was also not consulted on the process of preparing the appointment letter for PLSB, which the PAC report noted as having no experience or expertise in the procurement of medical equipment such as ventilators.

Additionally, the PAC found that PLSB, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Bhd, did not sign any contracts with the suppliers.

“Due to the extraordinary situation the world was facing at the time, emergency procurement was implemented to obtain vaccines, ventilators, personal protective equipment and other equipment to deal with the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Despite having no experience and expertise in the procurement of medical equipment such as ventilators, PLSB had been directed to make an advance payment for ventilators because of the existing relationship between the Health Ministry and PLSB.

“The absence of a written agreement between the Health Ministry and PLSB caused no party to be able to take responsibility for the failure of 104 units of ventilators to function.

“Due to the uncertainty of PLSB’s role in this matter, legal action could not be taken,” read the report on PAC’s investigation on expired vaccines, defective ventilators and excess PPE under the Health Ministry published on the official Parliament website yesterday.

The PAC noted that on March 25, 2020, the Cabinet was informed about the need for 800 ventilators, whereby 300 units were for replacement of existing equipment and the remaining 500 was to fulfil additional needs.

Following that, the Health Ministry’s top management had asked for assistance from PLSB to help the ministry get ventilators from manufacturing countries, especially China.

According to the PAC’s findings, this was the first time that the Health Ministry had got that particular brand of ventilators from China, a decision that was made due to the insufficient number of ventilators in Malaysia.

In line with the approval from the Finance Ministry, the Health Ministry approved an advance payment of RM30mil to PLSB to procure 500 ventilators, with the balance to be paid after the supply had been received.

Of this total, 136 ventilators were supplied to health facilities under the Health Ministry between April 1, 2020 and May 19, 2020.

However, after the ventilators arrived, they did not pass the testing and commissioning (T&C) procedure, although prior checks on the specifications had been conducted by Health Ministry experts based on the product brochures obtained beforehand.

The T&C of the ventilators found that only 28 were usable, 93 were unusable, and 15 were able to be returned to the overseas manufacturer for replacements, said the report.

From the 15 units that were replaced, only four units could be eventually used, meaning 104 of the 136 ventilators procured ended up being unusable.

“The issue with all the ventilators was that the ventilator plugs differed from the plugs used in Malaysia. The ventilators could only be turned on after the plug points were upgraded.

“However, each ventilator (also) had different problems in terms of hardware, accessories and software,” said the PAC.

It also said it found a discrepancy of information between the Health Ministry and PLSB on the existence of warranty for the 136 ventilators.

PLSB informed the PAC that all purchase order and price quotation documents indicated that the warranty was between the government and the supplier.

“PLSB only acted to manage the ventilator delivery to Health Ministry facilities and help the ministry contact the manufacturers to get warranties for ventilators that could not be used.

“The Health Ministry, meanwhile, said that there was no warranty upon purchase of the ventilator by PLSB, and warranty was only given by PLSB for the upgraded ventilators in a meeting on Sept 1, 2020,” said the PAC.

In its recommendations, the PAC said the Health Ministry must immediately check the warranty status of all 136 ventilators and ensure that appropriate action is taken against the party responsible.

The PAC also said that taking into account all the experiences, the Controlling Officer must ensure that public interest is always preserved even during emergency procurement, and that although faced with an emergency, documentation must be done with due diligence.

As suspected, the manner the order was made was rather casual. It brought out a response from the Malaysian Medical Association. Taken from Scoop below:

PAC report on ventilator procurement raises more questions than answers – MMA

There must be a thorough public explanation on how 104 out of 136 delivered ventilators were unusable

By Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz

31 October, 2023

THE Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on the procurement of ventilators supplied to the government during the Covid-19 pandemic has raised more questions than answers.

The dealings for the procurement of ventilators may have taken place at a most extraordinary time, however if the usual procurement process was not possible, at the very least, proper documentation should have been insisted upon. 

Documents, including signed documents could have still been shared via WhatsApp.

If Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (PLSB) did not have the experience in the procurement of medical equipment, all the more, proper documentation should have been insisted upon for transparency and accountability.

How 104 out of 136 delivered ventilators were unusable without any party being held accountable demands a thorough explanation for the Malaysian public. 

This issue not only involves a substantial amount of public funds but may also have significantly impacted the management of severe Covid-19 cases in the country. 

It is imperative that this issue is not brushed aside, and we must insist on complete accountability.

Furthermore, it highlights the urgent need for robust emergency procurement policies to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future. – October 31, 2023

Dr Azizan Abdul Aziz is the President of the Malaysian Medical Association

Beg your forgiveness your Majesty the Tengku Mahkota Johor. And sorry Abdillah, we beg to differ.

Not to mention the appearance of his man, Firmansyah@Dax as Chairman of Green Packet which the corporate mafia stole the listed company from CC Puan.

KJ has a lot to answer. Lots, before he can return and ever get a shot to the top position in national leadership again. 

There are already those calling for a Royal Commission of Inquery (RCI) to another questionable procurement and public contracts under Muhyiddin's opportunistic administration. 

And Muhyiddin has a past with the late Johor Sultan.

He defied Agong to unjustifiably prolonging to later end emergency without his Majesty's consent to avoid a vote of no confidence and get around passing of his lavish spending of public money to allow Bersatu to flick billions.

KJ was in cahoot.

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