DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today urged the government to allow a businessman mired in controversy over vaccine donations to Penang a chance to deliver on his claim, just under a week after federal minister Khairy Jamaluddin dismissed the offer as a scam job.
Lim, who is MP for Iskandar Puteri, said Yong Chee Kong had explained that the letter to the Penang government pledging two million doses of Sinovac vaccine was written by a staff member from his company, not Penang DAP as he had earlier claimed.
Adding that the businessman had apologised for the mistake, he said Yong had assured that his “boss” was still willing to donate the vaccine doses if he could get a letter of approval from the government.
“Khairy should approve the two million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Penang to give Yong a chance to redeem himself and deliver on his claim,” he said in a statement.
“If Yong can do so, all the police reports against him could be dropped.”
Khairy, who is in charge of the national immunisation programme, said at a press conference on May 19 that investigations had shown the company supposedly responsible for the offer, Xintai Development Enterprise Ltd, did not exist.
He also said an investigation with Sinovac China revealed no proof or documents received by the company.
“This donation or offer is bogus. Look at the offer, there’s not even a letterhead,” he said.
“I am responsible for vaccine procurement in Malaysia, so I know where the supplies come from.”
He later said that his officer had gotten in touch with a person claiming to be Yong, who said he had no proof of the donation although he had money in an account in Hong Kong.
“She then told him he can either show proof of the donation or make an official donation to the government of Malaysia which we will pass to the Penang government. NOT for him to pay to any company. Which he refused,” he said in a Twitter post.
Khairy also reiterated his willingness to facilitate the donation if Yong could prove his ability to procure the vaccines, or make an official contribution to the government.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin recently said the government has no objection if certain quarters want to purchase their own Covid-19 vaccines, but that they must first obtain approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency.
“If for instance, agencies such as Petronas or others (want to purchase vaccines), we cannot stop that. (However), the condition is that they are safe after being tested and they must be licensed… the purchase cannot be done discreetly or smuggled in,” he said.