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No documentation required for procuring ventilators during state of emergency, says health ministry

Publish date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023, 06:31 PM

The health ministry today said that there was no requirement for it to provide any documentation for emergency procurement of ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said that this was one of the reasons suppliers had sent ventilators that did not comply with the requested specifications.

There was a desperate for the health 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 acquisition of ventilators was done via a cash-and-carry trade.

He said that for emergency acquisitions, the ministry would provide the relevant specifications to the suppliers.

The suppliers would then present proposals for ventilators through catalogs 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 by 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 targeted 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 an attempt to avoid exposing misconducts under the previous health ministry.

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

Lukanisman said the expenditure guidelines during the emergency period states that there was no need for documentation.

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

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