KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today said that the government should not have paid for the MySejahtera smartphone application, a feature that has been ingrained into the lives of everyday Malaysians, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its report today, the PAC said that this was because the development of the app “is CSR in nature”, referring to corporate social responsibility.
“The government should not pay for the use of the MySejahtera application because its development is CSR in nature. The government should take over the operation of the MySejahtera application without incurring any additional costs as it has become part of the national health system,” the report read.
The PAC said this, taking note of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismil Sabri Yaakob’s answer in Parliament that the government will start making payments for use of the MySejahtera application from April 2021, though originally, the MySejahtera application was developed as a CSR initiative.
“PAC is of the view that the concept of CSR has been used as a mechanism for procuring government projects without going through rightful procurement procedures,” the Committee said.
In his parliamentary reply to a question raised by Ipoh Timur MP Wong Kah Woh regarding the payment of the development of the app, Ismail Sabri said that it began as a one-year CSR effort, which expired on March 31 this year.
Wong, who is from the DAP, currently chairs the PAC.
Ismail Sabri said that the government is currently discussing with the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), together with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Public Private Partnership Unit (Ukas), Ministry of Multimedia and Communication (KKMM), National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa) and National Security Council (NSC) to decide the amount and method of payment.
In its report, the PAC said that the government’s move to dip into the National Trust Fund (KWAN) to procure Covid-19 vaccines, was also in line with the objectives of the organisation’s founding, “subject to prudent spending”.
“However, the PAC found that the total allocation of RM3 billion for the Covid-19 Fund (KWC) announced by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) during the presentation of Budget 2021, was not taken into account in the overall estimated expenditure of RM322.5 billion under Budget 2021,” it added.
The PAC also advised the government to ensure sustainability of KWAN funds to guarantee the wellbeing of future generations, It also advised the MOF to ensure that all government expenditures are clearly accounted for in the national budget, every year.