KUALA LUMPUR: The health ministry’s emergency procurement process in future must have specific agreements with suppliers to ensure they provide equipment that comply with required specifications and do not take advantage of the ministry.
Deputy health minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said ventilators were urgently needed when the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019.
They were purchased on an emergency basis without specific agreements with the suppliers.
He said the prices rose sharply because ventilators were classified as a commodity and sold using the cash-and-carry system.
Restrictions in producing countries meant that suppliers merely submitted proposals through catalogues and brochures.
“For procurement purposes, the health ministry has specifications for the supply of ventilators.
“But the selection of equipment was made through catalogues due to the movement restrictions at that time that did not allow for physical inspections of the equipment.”
Suppliers also took advantage of this situation and they supplied ventilators that did not meet the requested specifications, he said this during the winding-up debate on the Auditor-General’s 2021 report involving the ministry.
He said a more organised procurement system must be set up if the country is once again faced with a health emergency.
Meanwhile, RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) wanted the suppliers that took advantage of the situation to be blacklisted and barred from supplying equipment to the health ministry.
Rayer said suppliers had a moral responsibility to provide ventilators that could be used even if the ministry did not check the quality.