Cabinet move to end monopolies at ministries

Radzi Razak

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad says the prime minister wants to tackle the issue of costly drugs supplied to government hospitals and clinics throughout the country. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, June 20, 2018.

PUTRAJAYA has set up a committee to study monopoly issues at several ministries, including the supply of drugs, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The minister said the cabinet committee will be chaired by Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.

Dzulkefly said the apart from him, Transport Minister Anthony Loke and Agriculture Minister Salahuddin Ayub are also in the committee.

“This issue of medicine monopoly is not just with the Health Ministry but involves services provided by the Transport and Agriculture Ministries.

“Dr Mahathir felt that the solution would be to form a committee to be chaired by Azmin.

“A comprehensive study is needed to look at this monopoly issue and a solution found which will give value for money. We want a solution that will avoid cost increases,” he said at the Health Ministry today.

Since the end of Barisan Nasional rule, reports have emerged of companies owned by politicians from the previous administration enjoying a monopoly to supply drugs to the ministry.

According to some reports, these monopolies resulted in the higher medicine costs supplied to government hospitals and clinics throughout the country.

Dzulkefly said the committee will meet soon and the ministries involved will make policy changes based on its solutions.

“The prime minister wants this done quickly. Monopolies being reviewed include those for the supply of rice by Bernas.”

The issue also touched on policy matters, such as Bumiputera allocations, he said.

“These will be taken into consideration by the committee.”

On the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigating his ministry, the Dzulkefly said he welcomed investigation into any company with a monopoly on the supply of drugs in the country.

“The ministry has no problem (being investigated by MACC)… but there must be evidence and not just mere hearsay.”  – June 20, 2018.

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