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Unacceptable for Malaysia to lag behind Bangladesh in getting Covid-19 vaccines

Press Statement
8th February 2021

Why is Malaysia behind Bangladesh in getting Covid-19 vaccines?

Economically, Malaysia is ahead of Bangladesh yet one of the world’s poorest nations has overtaken Malaysia in getting the vaccines to fight Covid-19. 

Despite all the reports about the lack of ultra-cold storage facilities in the country, Malaysia still went ahead to purchase the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer, and delivery can only be done in late February. On the other hand, Bangladesh that purchased 30 million doses of the Covishield vaccine from the Serum Institute of India has already received its first delivery of 5 million doses. 

Two million doses of Covishield were also delivered as a gift from India, while China has also given millions of doses to countries like Brazil and Turkey, but we hardly hear of any such offers from Pfizer. 

Prior to the announcement by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of the purchase from Pfizer, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi had visited both Indonesia and Malaysia to offer their vaccines at below US$20 per dose. Indonesia has since received its vaccines and started the vaccination programme, but Malaysia is still lagging behind. 

In most of these countries, we see the Health Minister leading the vaccination programme. But in Malaysia, the task is given to the Minister of Science and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin.

It is time for the government to tell us whether the delay is caused by the lack of ultra-cold storage or by other forms of negotiations that involve profit for companies involved. This is a question that has been raised by members of the public, and since this question cannot be brought up in Parliament, it has to be answered by the government in the public domain.  

Lim Lip Eng
MP for Kepong

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