Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Penang govt taken for a ride by free vaccine scam, says Khairy

He says the company that supposedly made the offer does not exist.

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Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said the offer of two million free doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for Penang was a scam job, adding that investigations had shown the company supposedly responsible for the offer did not exist.

Khairy, who is in charge of the national immunisation programme, said he decided to investigate the offer as he wanted to help Penang get the free vaccines.

But he said the investigation with Sinovac China revealed no proof or documents received by the company, Xintai Development Enterprise Ltd.

“We also found that the private company which offered the free jabs doesn’t exist in the first place.

“I will categorically say again today. This donation or offer is bogus. Look at the offer, there’s not even a letterhead,” he said at an online press conference today.

“I am responsible for vaccine procurement in Malaysia, so I know where the supplies come from.”

Khairy also said there was no record of any purchase by the Sekhar Foundation, an organisation linked to businessman Vinod Sekhar which recently accused the government of snubbing its application to bring in 200,000 jabs to be given out free.

Vinod’s Petra Group had claimed that it was able to “source” 200,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine from China to be distributed for free.

“Originally, we only had 20,000 vaccines, but we have managed to source another 180,000 vaccines and we want to give (all) 200,000 vials as part of our national service,” Petra Group spokesman William Stevenson was quoted as saying on a website operated by the company, in a report criticising the authorities for “snubbing” the offer.

Speaking today, Khairy said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had made an irresponsible accusation against him based on an offer which turned out to be a scam.

Former chief minister Lim Guan Eng had urged Chow to accept the offer, and blasted the government for blocking the donation.

Khairy meanwhile said Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari should not confuse the public over the rate of vaccination in the state.

“I don’t want to be seen as blocking Selangor’s efforts. But I have to be upfront and say that as far as supplies are concerned, the federal government’s supplies will be prioritised.”

Khairy also said the vaccination drive should not be politicised.

“Had it been something that was genuine, I would be the first to apologise,” he said, referring to Lim’s accusations that the government was blocking free vaccine offers from the private sector.

“But when it’s proven this is bogus and a scam, we were bashed 24 hours over this fraudulent claim, I feel extremely disappointed,” he said.

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