Former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin says he takes full responsibility for the cost of wasted Covid-19 vaccines, following the release of the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on the matter.
However, he said he was not involved in the brewing ventilator scandal.
“I take full responsibility for vaccine procurement because I was the minister in charge at that time, so I won’t throw anyone under the bus,” he said in his “Keluar Sekejap” podcast today.
But, he said, people needed to check their facts before accusing him of any wrongdoing in the ventilator procurement row.
“The ventilators were purchased in 2020, I only became health minister in 2021, so how can I be responsible for that?” he asked.
On Monday, the PAC report on the country’s Covid-19 management revealed that the 8.5 million doses of expired vaccine had cost the country RM505 million.
Khairy responded by saying today that Malaysia was not the only country dealing with wasted vaccines.
“If you look at the reports, the wastage was 10%. In the Philippines, more than 50 million doses were wasted, whereas in Indonesia more than 40 million doses were destroyed as of October last year.
“Meanwhile, we love to compare with Singapore, which wasted almost RM500 million in doses,” he said.
The report, which was published on the Parliament website, stated that the health ministry had procured the vaccines based on projected demand.
However, there was still an excess of vaccines due to “decreased vaccination demand, delays in receiving vaccine supplies and donations from foreign countries”.
The committee also found that the deliberations, assessments and decisions for the procurement of ventilators were conducted using WhatsApp, instead of standard procedures due to lockdown constraints and the urgency at that time.
The committee also found discrepancies in the information provided by the health ministry and Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd on the warranties for 136 ventilator units.
It said, even though Pharmaniaga Logistics lacked experience and expertise in procuring medical equipment such as ventilators, the firm was instructed to make an upfront payment for the ventilators due to its “existing relationship with the health ministry”. – FMT