KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today that he had responded favourably to requests by the Selangor and Sarawak state governments to procure Covid-19 vaccines.
The federal science, technology and innovation minister, in a statement today, denied Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s allegations that Putrajaya was stonewalling states’ attempts to purchase vaccines and had forced Selangor to wait months for approval.
“I have given a positive response. However, until now, I have not received any official application from the (Selangor) state government,” Khairy said.
As for Sarawak, Khairy said he had several meetings with Deputy Chief Minister Amar Douglas Unggah Embas, who also expressed interest in procuring coronavirus vaccines for Sarawak.
“I have given a positive response with the condition that the vaccine that the Sarawak state government wants to purchase has to be registered with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) first, considering that the brand of vaccine that the Sarawak state government wants is still under NPRA’s review,” he said, without revealing which vaccine Sarawak was interested in purchasing.
Anwar yesterday accused the federal government of preventing state governments from procuring their own Covid-19 vaccines. The Port Dickson MP also asked for an independent investigation under Parliament to scrutinise the causes of procurement bottlenecks experienced by the federal and state governments, as well as the private sector.
Khairy said that he is always open to being questioned, criticised, and investigated on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK). He said that he presented the Malaysian government’s vaccine procurement contracts to the Public Accounts Committee on January 5, which was also attended by Permatang Pauh MP and Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar.
“I also held an engagement session with the Members of the Parliament from the opposition on March 19, 2021 in which I gave a lengthy presentation on PICK including answering various questions in detail,” the science, technology, and innovation minister said.
“YB Opposition Leader was not present at the session. My hope is that YB Opposition Leader will continue to follow the implementation of PICK and give thoughtful criticisms for me to answer.”