As millions of Covid-19 vaccine doses expire, former PAC chief wants Health Ministry to come clean on financial loss

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — While debating the Health Ministry’s budget today, DAP lawmaker Wong Kah Woh has urged its minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa to reveal the financial cost that resulted from the losses of expired Covid-19 vaccines.

The Taiping MP, who was previously the chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said that a health minister should not hide behind the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) every time someone questions the price or the acquisition process of the vaccines.

"I would like to take this opportunity to inform the minister that I feel aggrieved by the answer given, whereby every time we touch on the price of vaccines or the acquisition of the vaccines, the answer we get is always about the NDA which is often used as a shield for the ministry to protect itself from providing actual figures.

"I would like to hereby inform you that this NDA, when we were in the PAC we read it [then] and at that time, it was clear that the NDA was only bound by the disclosure of the sale price of each vaccine dose.

"And if we [mention it in a] lump sum on all the various doses of the vaccines it will not affect what is contained in the NDA,” Wong told the Parliament during his debate at the committee stage on the Budget 2023.

In a Parliamentary written reply provided yesterday, a total of 2,796,638 doses of Covid-19 vaccine stocks of various brands have expired at the Ministry of Health (MOH) facility and the Covid-19 vaccine storage warehouse as of February 28 this year.

The Health Ministry in the written reply also said that the amount includes 3.27 per cent of the total amount received by the government, including donations.

The minister however during the winding up speech did not manage to arrive at the question due to time constraints but has promised a written reply for this question, as well as other MPs’ questions which were asked during the debate today.