Friday, June 18, 2021

Guan Eng ready to say sorry over vaccine row with Khairy

The former Penang CM says he will apologise if Khairy Jamaluddin's statement that the company which offered to donate two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the state is proven true.

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DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today said he was willing to apologise over a purported donation of Covid-19 vaccines to the Penang government which Khairy Jamaluddin recently dismissed as a scam if what the federal minister said is proven to be true.

“If what Khairy said is true, then I am willing to apologise so that we can focus on the importance of securing vaccines for the people through a whole of government/country effort,” he said in a statement today, adding that the Penang government is attempting to verify Khairy’s assertion.

Khairy, who is in charge of the national immunisation programme, said at a press conference yesterday that the offer by a private company of two million free doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for Penang was a scam job.

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

“I will categorically say again today. This donation or offer is bogus. Look at the offer, there’s not even a letterhead.

“I am responsible for vaccine procurement in Malaysia, so I know where the supplies come from,” the science, technology and innovation minister said.

Chow later urged the company to come forward and clear its name, saying Khairy’s allegation was “serious”.

In a statement, he said the Penang government had received the vaccine offer in a letter dated Feb 1. He said it had sought the views of the Penang health department which asked that the letter be sent to the health ministry for advice.

He said on March 12, the ministry’s secretary-general Mohd Shafiq Abdullah had replied that the contribution could not be considered as the federal government had implemented the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“With this, the state government could not pursue the matter as it did not receive the ministry’s recommendation letter to enable them negotiate with the vaccine supplier,” Chow said.

Lim, the former Penang chief minister who had earlier hit out at the federal government for “blocking” the donation, said “whether the company exists or not is a secondary issue”.

“(It) should not distract from the two principal issues of the federal government granting immediate approval to all state governments to purchase vaccines or secure vaccine donations,” he added.

“It is not wrong to seek vaccines at the earliest possible time for the people to protect them by every legal means possible.”

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