THE concerns of medical experts over the depleting if not absolute lack of supplies, in particular Covid 19 test kits and related mechanisms, are now somewhat confirmed by the Social Security Organisation’s (SOCSO) request for quotation from suppliers on Monday, but some new revelations have surfaced to sound even more alarms of the dealings.
Hang on to your seats. We have received alerts from contacts in the industry that, as was the case with the antigenRTKs supposedly received from South Korean firm SD Biosensor, now a Chinese manufacturer seems to deny they have received any new orders for their brand of antibody RTKs, however confirm that they had earlier donated shipments of the test kits to Malaysia under a government-to-government agreement.
As per the letters requesting quotations for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody based rapid test kits below, suppliers were given 24 hours to submit their quotations.
Today, sources within the industry state SOCSO have swiftly awarded the contract to supply the antibodyRTKs to one company today.
“Perkeso awarded contract for RTKs, 300,000 tests arriving this Saturday, from Liangrun Lionrun at RM24. China only starts work tomorrow and factory does not even have such an order to deliver. Where are the kits from? Have the kits expired? Are the kits originals?” a source posed some questions to us.
Thus, we asked scoured the industry’s network and received further notifications and more questions from another source close to China’s production line.
“We investigated with Chinese factory Liangrun and they denied they had any orders for antibody RTK from Malaysia (sounds like Antigen story from SD Biosensor) as they only started Antibody production on March 24, 2020. With the huge amount of orders received to date delivery, to Malaysia is definitely not the priority.
“However they said they have sold some to Indonesia and also donated to Malaysia and Indonesia on G to G basis. Will there be a possibility some of these donated or sold products are being proposed to Perkeso @ rm24/set? The price quoted is well below international market pricing of USD$11-15/set depending on brand and delivery schedule,” another source stated, in response to our questions.
Earlier, we reported that South Korean manufacturer SD Biosensor was left dumbfounded by Health Department director general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s statement that the ministry had received a shipment of 50,000 antigen RTKs from SD Biosensor last Friday and was in the midst of carrying out tests and training its personnel handling Covid 19 cases.
As per the phone recording below, the South Korean contact confirms our earlier reports that SD Biosensor had ceased production of Antigen RTKs on March 1 to dedicate their entire production lines to Antibody RTKs to meet global demand. No Antigen RTKs have been produced by the company and neither have they received any orders, let alone payments from Malaysia for Antigen RTKs.
Furthermore, we have received alerts that South Korean manufacturers are being hoarded with requests for order from several companies claiming to represent the government of Malaysia for the supply of antibody RTKs, as of yesterday and today.
What is clear here is that, there seems to be fly by night businesses seeking to “flourish” in times of crisis, when at least companies like SD Biosensor state their bemusement as to why such confusion is being caused when the government could have dealt directly with their authorised distributor and agent, which are well established in Malaysia. Such underhanded practices, the South Koreans fear, may result in legal implications under their commercial laws.
The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) have already began investigations into one scandal related to the crisis procurement, when on Monday they launched an inquest into an RM30.5 million contract from the Health Ministry to a construction firm for supplies of Covid 19 mitigation lab solutions.
** MORE TO FOLLOW
Following are the Socso/Perkeso letters of request for quotation from suppliers of test kits sent out on Monday. Note the 24-hour deadline to submit.
**More to follow