Confound the confusion on vaccines and govt spending

Anyone, including those who have never studied statistics or never been to business school, would be left wondering about the relationship between the money spent from the budget, KWAN’s fund and the number of people receiving the vaccines.

(FMT) – In the past week we have been bombarded by several unexpected and undesirable major financial drawbacks.

Just look at these three major headlines:

New law to allow govt to tap into the RM16.9 billion trust fund (FMT, April 21).

Sustainability sukuk oversubscribed 6.4 times, US$1.3bil raised (FMT, April 22).

‘Only RM5bil’ to be taken from the National Trust Fund, says Tengku Zafrul (FMT, April 26).

Many did not expect the government to make these two unexpected moves, as there were no indications or prior announcements in the run up towards the actual events.

Was it meant to be a surprise? Yes. And it is also objectionable.

It appears that our country has spent so much of our public funds in buying vaccines. But each allocation was never enough. RM3 billion was allocated in the 2021 budget which was approved by the Parliament in 2020, but soon after, it was considered insufficient. Therefore, another RM2 billion was added in the supplementary budget in March.

Yes, a total of RM5 billion has been allocated on vaccines within the last few months.

How much has really been spent?

Although no actual accounts were presented, as the Parliament is closed, and no MPs could pose any questions, therefore, the government has managed to confuse us all by mixing the vaccine budget allocation and funds taken out from the National Trust Fund (KWAN).

A more responsible government would reveal some basic data on what and how those large sums of money were spent on, so that any “naughty” questions from any “naughty” MPs could be avoided.

Yet, another piece of news (by FMT, April 24) said that so far, Malaysia has vaccinated only 495,750 people with two doses each. This represents only about 1.5% of our population.

If true, this figure is indeed very low in relation to the amount of money spent. Even our ex-prime minister Najib Razak realised the shortfall and raised this same issue.

Anyone, including those who have never studied statistics or never been to business school, would be left wondering about the relationship between the money spent from the budget, KWAN’s fund and the number of people receiving the vaccines.

How much has been allocated in total? And how much has been spent? Is it RM5 billion, RM8 billion or RM10 billion in total?

I would not do any calculations in here, but it is sufficient to say that so many things are not right between those two numbers, money allocated, and the number of people vaccinated.


The following comments by Mohamad Hasan, the current deputy president of Umno, sum up our frustrations.

He says, “… the government’s course of action is worrying and indicates its vulnerability in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He is referring to the same issue; large sums of money spent but a low number of people being vaccinated.

He further suggested that those who can afford and wish to pay for the vaccines, should be allowed to do so. He posed the obvious question; why was this not allowed?

Meaning to say, no vaccines could be paid for by those who are willing to pay for it.

The government seems to indicate that only they could be involved in vaccine purchase but not the private sector companies.

Why should the government regulate, control, decide and spend our funds? All by themselves.

Any reason as to why the government should play the role of a monopoly in purchasing vaccines? Has it got anything to do with the purchase price?

But why are we spending so much for something so little, so far? In a secretive manner, too.

After all vaccines were bought using public funds and now it looks like another RM5 billion is going to be spent from KWAN.

Many would agree with me that in the absence of Parliament, there ought to be a transparent explanation from the government. How our public funds are spent and how much each of those vaccine dosage costs us, the government should be made more accountable.

There is a long list of questions which the public need to know during this Emergency:

Have they exhausted the RM5 billion allocation?

Despite Umno threatening to pull the rug from under the government’s feet, why are two Umno ministers are given the task to spend so much in handling the purchase of vaccines?

But where are the vaccines?

Why the sudden rush to raise sustainability bonds?

The government is raising so little (RM1.3 billion as compared to Grab’s US$40 billion) Why? And yet, KWAN was raided for RM5 billion at the same time?

I’m sure many of us are trying hard to wrap our brains around these issues and financial drawbacks.

And yet the government commits another PR disaster by allowing an incompetent party information chief to provide the explanation.

His narrative was not only convoluted and defensive, but devoid of any professionalism, and did not make any sense.

And the numbers don’t add either.