KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Parliament’s powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed satisfaction with the government’s briefing on Covid-19 vaccine procurement and usage.
The PAC will also conduct a special meeting (exit conference) for the first time with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) before presenting its report to the Dewan Rakyat to ensure compliance with all the Covid-19 vaccine purchasing agreement terms.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, MOH secretary-general Chen Chaw Min, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, and MOSTI secretary-general Siti Hamisah Tapsir yesterday briefed the PAC on the government’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement.
“As a whole, Parliament’s PAC is satisfied with the testimony and briefing by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, YB Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, and Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah on the issue of the procurement and usage of Covid-19 vaccines,” PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said in a statement.
“These proceedings are in line with the PAC’s intention in ensuring truly transparent government spending for the benefit of the people as a whole. At the same time, PAC also took note of the existence of the non-disclosure agreements (NDA) between government and Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing companies,” added the Ipoh Timur lawmaker from the DAP.
In general, the NDA should not restrain duties and the role of PAC, Wong said.
Wong also emphasised that the PAC will not compromise its principles on transparency and protecting the needs of the country, while respecting the terms of the vaccine purchasing agreements that have been signed.
“PAC will balance its role in conducting legislative scrutiny within the provisions of the NDA in existing commercial agreements to ensure that there is no breach of agreement.”
Previously, Khairy agreed to brief the PAC on the deals made by Malaysia with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers when the PAC asked the government to disclose the cost incurred in procuring vaccines from different companies.
However, Khairy requested for the PAC to agree to a NDA, as he was not able to publicly disclose the details of the agreement because the government has signed NDAs with the pharmaceutical companies.
The Malaysian government has purchased the Pfizer-BioNTech (12.8 million doses), AstraZeneca-Oxford University (6.4 million doses), and COVAX vaccines (AstraZeneca shot: 6.4 million doses) to cover 40 per cent of the population. Another 42.8 per cent of the population will be covered by the Sinovac, CanSino, and Sputnik V vaccines, pending the finalisation of negotiations with vaccine developers.