The price paid to vaccinate each person in Malaysia was RM77.35, not RM468.
Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin misspoke when he said the government would vaccinate 6.4 million people at a cost of RM3 billion, then science, technology and innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in January.
According to its report on Covid-19 vaccine procurement, the PAC said his statement had led to confusion, as the RM468 cost per person towered above the figure leaked from Belgium that said the European nation was paying just RM82.40 per person.
At a meeting with the PAC on Jan 5, Khairy told PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh the former prime minister had made an error when quoting the price of vaccination.
“I checked with the Prime Minister’s Office, he misspoke,” the report quoted Khairy as saying. “In this context and in this context alone, the statement of the minister of Mosti (science, technology and innovation ministry) is valid compared to the statement of the most honourable prime minister.”
Khairy reiterated that the price paid to vaccinate each person in Malaysia was RM77.35, lower than that charged by the Belgians.
Digging into KWAN
The PAC was also told by finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz that when tabling the 2021 national budget, the government did not have plans to access the National Trust Fund to combat Covid-19.
“During the presentation of the 2021 budget, I at that time announced that the government would provide an allocation of RM3 billion,” the report quoted Tengku Zafrul as saying.
“However, this RM3 billion is not in the total allocation of RM322.5 billion in the 2021 budget. Your question about whether at that time did we think of using KWAN funds, the honest truth is ‘no’.”
He said the use of KWAN funds was necessitated by the government’s limited fiscal space and was decided upon on April 21.
The PAC report concluded that “the government must ensure the sustainability of the KWAN fund to ensure the well-being of future generations”.
“The finance ministry needs to ensure that all government expenditure is clearly taken into account in the national budget estimate each year.” – FMT