Sabah DAP has questioned the supply of medical equipment to state hospitals.
KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to investigate six medical equipment suppliers appointed by the Health Ministry for links to Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties.
Sabah DAP secretary Dr Edwin Bosi claimed the party had evidence that government funds for procurement of medical equipment for state hospitals were channelled to these suppliers, via a “limited tender” exercise, engineered by MCA.
“We would like to know the basis for appointing the six companies. We ask if this is not against the standard Treasury instruction for the procurement of equipment, ” Bosi said.
Local medical suppliers claim that in August last year, the ministry approved about RM18 million for procurement of equipment for Queen Elizabeth II.
The equipment approved ranged from hand brush costing RM20 and artery forceps costing RM25 to monitors costing RM900. The procurement comes under three categories – direct purchase for items below RM50,000, quotation for those below RM500,000 and a tender for items above RM500,000.
Hospital authorities called for quotations in early August from local suppliers for items below RM50,000, which were submitted to the State Health Department. The authorities also prepared specifications for quotations and tender at the same time.
However, Bosi claimed that the ministry did not release the funds and the Sabah Health Department was not informed when the fund would be made available.
In early 2012, the department was informed by the ministry that six companies had been appointed to participate in a “limited tender” exercise in the procurement of the equipment.
Only one Sabah supplier
Five out of the six companies are from Peninsular Malaysia and the only one is from Sabah.
Bosi said the ministry must explain the rationale for the “limited tender” procedure and the exclusion of the local medical equipment suppliers from this exercise.
“We would like to know if the limited tender exercise will lead to cheaper prices, greater efficiency and better delivery, thus benefitting the end-users. Sabah DAP wants to know who are benefiting from this limited tender.
“This is a serious matter because funds are not forthcoming while procurement procedure is changed at the expense of the people who are in dire need of treatment and medical services in QEH.
“We urge the relevant authorities such as the MACC to investigate this matter urgently,” he said.
“Sabah DAP wants to know why medical equipment suppliers registered in Sabah are left out in this process,” he added.