Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee says it will scrutinise Covid-19 vaccine procurement with contract NDAs in mind

Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh speaks during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Bernama pic
Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh speaks during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has assured that it will balance its role of carrying out legislative scrutiny while adhering to the terms of the Covid-19 vaccine deals and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure there is no breach of agreement.

In a statement today, PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said the committee will perform its duties to safeguard national interest.

“We are aware of the NDA signed between the government and vaccine distributors.

“But generally, NDAs should not deter PAC from executing its role and duties,” he said.

Earlier today, PAC conducted an official proceeding involving Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, as well as Health director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah, on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

Wong added that PAC is satisfied with the clarification given by government representatives on the use and procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

“The proceeding was in line with PAC’s hopes of ensuring that government spending is transparent and truly benefits the people as a whole,” he said.

Earlier, Khairy said today’s proceeding was conducted based on both ministers’ voluntary presence.

“We just want to report to Malaysians that today MOH and Mosti voluntarily offered a statement to the PAC.

“We were not summoned by PAC for an investigation which led to a proceeding.

“I had also posted on social media that we offered to be present before the PAC officially,” he said.

Mosti is the acronym of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Khairy added that he had made this decision jointly with the health minister to ensure that they uphold transparency as far as the agreement with vaccine companies allows.

In the proceeding, he added that he had revealed vaccine purchasing details and contract documents between Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca.

Khairy and his ministry were previously criticised for seemingly hiding behind the NDA and refused to disclose further details on the vaccine purchasing agreement.

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