KUALA LUMPUR, August 16 — Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today confirmed that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration has resigned from office, amid political turmoil and a surging Covid-19 epidemic.
“The Cabinet has tendered our resignation to the Agong. Thank you for the opportunity to, once again, serve the nation. May God bless Malaysia,” Khairy posted in an Instastory.
Muhyiddin met the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at noon earlier today to submit his resignation.
Khairy, who is the science, technology, and innovation minister, took leadership of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) in February this year, an unusual move as vaccination typically falls under the purview of the Ministry of Health (MOH).
As coordinating minister of PICK, Khairy managed coronavirus vaccine procurement and had to coordinate with MOH public health infrastructure, as well as private medical practitioners, to put shots into arms under Malaysia’s biggest ever vaccination programme in history.
Malaysia began rolling out Covid-19 vaccines in late February. Khairy’s critics say Malaysia’s inoculation programme got off to a slow start due to delayed vaccine procurement, amid the surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths the past few months.
PICK accelerated in July, administering 12 million doses last month alone compared to eight million doses from February to June.
Khairy said yesterday that Malaysia administered about 400,000 vaccine doses daily in July, among the top three fastest countries globally for daily vaccinations per capita.
“This shows us what we have always known. What was holding us back was not the lack of capacity, resources, or competency, but rather not having a consistent supply of vaccines due to global vaccine inequity and the hoarding of vaccines by certain countries which has been condemned by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Khairy said.
As of August 14, Malaysia has vaccinated 52 per cent of its total population with at least one vaccine dose, catching up to the United States’ 59 per cent. Malaysia’s rolling seven-day average vaccination rate is currently at 1.39 doses per 100 people, six times higher compared to the US’ 0.22.