KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation’s (Mosti) allocations under Budget 2021 were approved by the Dewan Rakyat today in a voice vote with no objection from the Opposition bloc.
The voice vote was called by Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon after he allocated an extra five minutes to the minister in charge of Mosti, Khairy Jamaluddin who wanted to respond to questions raised regarding Covid-19 vaccines.
This means to date, nine ministries’ budget allocations have been approved with voice votes.
During his winding-up speech, Khairy clarified that private negotiations done in relation to Covid-19 vaccines by private companies had nothing to do with the government’s procurement of vaccines for the country.
“I want to clarify — and the health minister is on my left — that the announcements made involving private companies and companies that are producing vaccines have nothing to do with the government procurements.
“Any (private) companies can negotiate with international companies, to be their agent or distributor but we cannot control if they want to strike commercial deals.
“But if they don’t get approval from clinical research Malaysia, they cannot conduct clinical trials here,” Khairy told the Dewan Rakyat today during his winding-up speech at the committee level.
He was responding to concerns raised by Parti Amanah Negara Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad and DAP Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
At the same time, Khairy said if private companies failed to get relevant approvals such as the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency under the Health Ministry, they cannot bring Covid-19 vaccines into Malaysia.
“So I want to say this to market investors. The announcement made by these (private) companies does not mean that they have an allocation from the government.
“The government’s deal is only with Pfizer and Covax, and does not go through any third party or middleman,” he added.
He also dismissed claims made by Umno Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who said that the deal struck between pharmaceutical company Pfizer alone would cost RM2 billion.
“That statement is not true and baseless. I cannot reveal the price of the deal by non-disclosure agreement clauses.
“The deal we made with Pfizer and Covax is way within our reach of 70 per cent of the Malaysian population,” he said.
Earlier, Tengku Razaleigh had also questioned the 70 per cent reach, asking why the RM3 billion allocation could not cover all Malaysians.
Meanwhile, on a question raised by DAP Bakri MP Yeo Bee Yin regarding cabotage exemption on foreign vessels that carry out undersea cable maintenance, Khairy said the decision to withdraw the exemption was still being discussed in Cabinet.
“Regarding the exemption on cabotage, I have also raised what you have raised to the Cabinet and the Transport Ministry.
“The matter is still being discussed and a decision will be announced later,” he said.