PUTRAJAYA, April 26 — A total of RM5 billion from the National Trust Fund (KWAN) will be used to expedite the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.
According to him, the trust fund has RM19.5 billion as of Dec 31, 2020, comprising contributions from Petronas worth RM10.4 billion and RM9.1 billion from investment returns.
Under Section 6, the National Trust Fund Act 1988 (Act 339) allows KWAN to be used after 10 years for development expenditure and to finance soft loans to the Federal and state governments, he said.
“The use of the trust fund is only limited to procuring vaccines, and not for other purposes that are not stated under the law.
“The estimated RM5 billion for vaccine procurement will only use the investment returns (RM9.1 billion) but the total contribution of RM10.4 billion remains and will not be used,” he told a media conference to explain the issue regarding the trust fund today.
On April 21, the government passed an amendment to Act 339 that enables the trust fund to be used for the purpose of procuring vaccines and any other expenses related to it, through the Emergency (National Trust Fund) Ordinance (Amendment) 2021.
Tengku Zafrul said it was aimed at expediting the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme so as to achieve herd immunity by end of this year instead of February 2022.
He said this was not the first time that the government had tapped into the trust fund as RM42 million had been used previously from the same fund for the Paya Indah Wetlands project.
He said KWAN was set up to ensure optimal use of the country’s stable natural resources for the benefit of the country and future generations.
“We are the future that was meant when the fund was established. If we cannot use the fund, then the future generations will not be able to use it too,” he said.