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Agreements not required for emergency procurement of ventilators, says health ministry

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni says ventilators were procured on a cash-and-carry basis with no proper procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni. Photo: Bernama
Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni. Photo: Bernama

The health ministry today said it did not need to prepare agreement documents for emergency procurement of ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said this could be why suppliers took advantage by supplying ventilators that did not comply with the specifications requested by the ministry.

There was a desperate need for the ministry to obtain medical equipment during the emergency, he said during the Auditor-General's Report 2021 debate in the Dewan Rakyat today.

However, due to travel restrictions to supplier countries, the procurement of ventilators was done on cash-and-carry basis.

He said that for emergency procurements, the ministry would provide the required specifications to the suppliers.

The suppliers would then present proposals for ventilators through catalogues or brochures for ministry officials' consideration.

"The delivery was done in phases and took a long time due to high demands and competitions in European countries.

"And the prices increased up to four times.

"In emergency situations, it wasn't feasible to physically inspect the ventilators," he said.

However, he said that the ministry had still managed to obtain the required number of ventilators to meet the high demand in the public health sector at that time.

Lukanisman's response came after several Pakatan Harapan MPs said the opposition bloc's reluctance to debate the national audit report was a cover-up attempt to avoid exposing misconducts on the part of the health ministry under the previous administration.

Yesterday, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer claimed there were irregularities in the health ministry's procurement of vaccines and ventilators.

Lukanisman said the according to the emergency spending guidelines, there was no need to prepare agreements for emergency procurements.

He also said that approximately 104 ventilator units deemed unsuitable and unsafe would be replaced with new ones from supplier companies.