PAC Probing Pandemic Medical Procurement, Requests National Audit

The Public Accounts Committee will summon the Finance Ministry, the MACC, and related ministries in its inquiry into government procurement of medical services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 – Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will launch an inquiry on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation into the procurement of medical services, abuse of power in diverting aid, and stimulus packages provided by the government.

The PAC will summon the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the MACC, and other relevant ministries and government agencies involved to brief and provide explanations to the committee, said PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh in a statement today.

“As a Dewan Rakyat Select Committee with the mandate to examine government expenditure so that it complies with the law, government financial regulations, contract terms and payment execution, the PAC will not compromise with any party trying to make a profit for personal interest.

“Accordingly, I have officially informed the Auditor General yesterday that the National Audit Department conduct a special audit on the government’s procurement and expenditure for medical services at a time when the country is facing the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as the issue of abuse of power in diverting aid and stimulus packages provided by the government.

“This special audit should be expedited with the findings and results presented to the PAC so that the committee can identify any elements of malpractice, waste, and abuse of power in the procurement of these medical services,” Wong said.

MACC chief Azam Baki on Tuesday said the anti-graft agency had opened investigations into allegations of bribery in the procurement of medical services for Covid-19, fraud related to the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), and abuse of power in distributing aid and stimulus packages during the pandemic.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Dr Adham Baba, who served as health minister when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit Malaysia, admitted that many procurements made during the pandemic were carried out without going through standard procedures.

“We used emergency procurement procedures when there was an immediate need to complete many things and to accelerate the work – there are things that need to be ordered first and there are things that need deposit payments.

“All of this was done without going through normal processes and there are things that I know of while I was minister at that time advising them.

“As minister, I took care of the policy and its implementation which was conducted by the administration, and I listed down all the implementation needs that they wanted.

“I am ready to cooperate with MACC. There is no doubt as that was for emergency use for the first time,” he told reporters, according to The Star.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, during a press conference yesterday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) will provide its full cooperation to the MACC over its probe into the alleged corruption.

“We are ready to provide full cooperation with MACC in relation to their investigation into the procurement at the ministry level,” Khairy said.

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