PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR:
Najib Razak has questioned the need for additional funds to procure vaccines following the passing of a new emergency ordinance that allows the government to tap into the national trust fund for such a purpose.
" I have to issue if the act was amended for vaccines, but I have my doubts over what has happened to the RM 3 Billion set aside in the federal budget," the former prime minister said in a Facebook post, referring to the sum allocated for the procurement of vaccines.
Najib said Purtajaya had previously said RM 2 Billion from the allocation would be sufficient to vaccinate 83% of Malaysians and that the other RM 1 Billion would be used to store and distribute the vaccines.
However, after the emergency was proclaimed, the RM 3 Billion allocation for the vaccines was increased to RM 5 Billion on grounds that the government wanted to speed up its target of vaccinating 80% of its 32 million population by this December instead of February 2022.
Najib went on to ask why an additional RM 2 Billion was needed to speed up the vaccination exercise by a mere two (2) months.
" And what has happened to the initial allocation of RM 3 Billion for the vaccines and funds from the sale of the national assets and cash reserves," he said, questioning the basis for the national trust fund to be raided now.
Najib said no withdrawals were made from the national trust fund during his tenure as the prime minister, adding that during his time the money in the fund increased to RM 16 billion from RM 4 billion.
Earlier today, the government passed a new emergency ordinance amending the National Trust Fund 1988 Act to allow it to be used for the procurement of vaccines and related expenditure.
Set up in 1988 and managed by Bank Negara Malaysia, the fund reportedly had RM 16.9 Billion in assets as at the end of 2017, with Petronas as its most notable contributor.
Today's newly-gazetted Emergency (National Trust Fund) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 adds a new subsection to Section 6 of the National Trust Fund Act, which sates that the fund can be used for the "Procurement of vaccines and nay expenditure incurred in relation to the vaccines for an epidemic of any infectious disease as specified under he Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342)."
The Ordinance Comes Into Effect Immediately.
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@ Jackie San