KUALA LUMPUR: The vaccine procurement process was implemented in an orderly manner and in accordance with the Finance Ministry’s (MOF) financial procedures, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the committee was satisfied as the procurement prices for the vaccines from various portfolios paid by the government were found to be reasonable.

However, he said the PAC found that the premium price, which was an increase of between 16.78 and 18.12 per cent had to be paid by the government in the purchase of some of the Sinovac vaccines, among others due to Pharmaniaga's delay in delivery in April, May and June 2021 and the urgency during the period.

“PAC is of the opinion that the government should stick to the same price as stipulated in the initial agreement,“ he said in a statement today.

PAC today presented a report on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Ministry of Health (MOH) and MOF in the Dewan Rakyat.

Meanwhile, the PAC found that the government could not afford to take a strategic bet on the vaccine manufacturing companies and to make early bookings without clinical information due to limited financial resources.

According to the PAC, this was one of the factors why Malaysia could not get supply of the vaccines much earlier but the vaccine procurement process was more proactive with the establishment of the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) in October 2020.

The PAC also found that the RM3 billion allocation for the Covid-19 Fund (KWC) announced by the MOF during the tabling of Budget 2021 was not taken into account in the overall estimated expenditure of RM322.5 billion.

In addition, noting that the government would start making payments for the use of MySejahtera application from April this year, although it was originally developed on a corporate social responsibility basis, the PAC is of the view that the move was a way to secure government projects without going through the procurement procedures.

As such, the PAC recommends the government not to pay for the use of the MySejahtera application as it was developed as a CSR initiative, and to take over the operation of the application without incurring any additional costs as it is now part of the national healthcare system.

The PAC also recommended that the government set a ceiling price immediately for Sinovac sold in the Private Vaccine Market, as well as take proactive action to finalise the purchase of vaccines for children, and if necessary pay the reservation costs to ensure delivery will not be delayed.

The PAC took about a year to complete its investigations into the government’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement procedures and the proceedings began on Jan 5, 2021.-Bernama