KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — Malaysia could capitalise on its Covid-19 vaccination efforts by becoming a regional hub for halal vaccines catering to Muslim countries, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy said Malaysia was approached by vaccine producers about using the country as a regional hub due to its internationally recognised halal certification system.

“Many vaccine producers have approach us in wanting to position Malaysia as a hub for Southeast Asia and other Muslim markets around the world because of our well-regulated and stringent halal certifications, this seemed to be a value-add for the vaccine manufacturers,” he said in a press conference today.

Khairy said among those that have expressed such an interest were Russian sovereign wealth funds, investors from India as well as companies related to vaccine producers in China.

He said investments in that area would boost Malaysia’s pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

However, Khairy added that any company looking to invest and set up a base in the country would first need to get approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“As long as they get necessary regulatory approval, seems to be safe and adhere to good practices, then Malaysia seems to be capable of being the hub for South-east Asia and other Muslim countries,” he said.

Khairy also announced that CITF will ensure support given to the Ministry of Health in ensuring the success of the Covid-19 national immunisation program.

He announced that Deputy Director General Of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr Chong Chee Keong and Deputy Chief of Army Lt-Gen Datuk Mohammad Ab Rahman will lead the CITF management team.

Yesterday, Khairy announced the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, totalling 312,390 doses, will be flown in on February 21, to be disbursed on February 26.