Dr Mahathir: Covid-19 vaccine deals should be public as they involve taxpayers’ funds

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attending the Amanat Perjuangan 2021 event, in Shah Alam, December 31, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attending the Amanat Perjuangan 2021 event, in Shah Alam, December 31, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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SHAH ALAM, Dec 31 — The government should make public the process and details of the deal to procure Covid-19 vaccines as it involves taxpayers’ funds, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

“Everything should be done openly. This is what we promise. With non-disclosure agreements but done secretly, this we cannot accept.

“We need to know everything that happens within the government when public funds are used,’’ said Dr Mahathir briefly to the media after a Selangor Parti Pejuang Tanah Air event.

Putrajaya’s deal several major pharmaceutical firms supplying the vaccines are listed under non-disclosure agreements, and breaching the confidentiality clause would jeopardise the agreement with the manufacturer said Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin in a press conference last week.

Khairy had stated previously that he would brief the Public Accounts Committee on the vaccines procurement details, provided the members are bound by the same agreements.

Khairy added that breaching the confidentiality clause would jeopardise the agreement with the manufacturers.

 

 

Last week, Putrajaya had disclosed that it has secured vaccine coverage for another 10 per cent of the population and was on track to procure enough doses to vaccinate over 80 per cent of Malaysia at an estimated cost of RM2.05 billion.

AstraZeneca also said it will supply 6.4 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to Malaysia next year without profit.

This comes amid rumours that Putrajaya was overpaying for its own batch of vaccines, following Belgium’s Budget State Secretary Eva De Bleeker’s revelation of vaccine prices.

DAP MP Lim Kit Siang was among those who made such a claim, urging PAC to brief MPs from both sides over the deals.

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