KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today sought to set the record straight on the government’s estimated expenditure to procure Covid-19 vaccines after being questioned by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
In a statement, he explained that there had been erroneous news reports made about the cost under the previous government in which he was the science, technology, and innovation minister and put in charge of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
He said the error originated from reports by two media outlets in December 2020 that purported to have quoted then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin saying the government spent RM2 billion out of the RM3 billion set aside for Covid-19 recovery on vaccine procurement to immunise only 30 per cent of the population, about 6.4 million people.
“But, after my office obtained the full transcript of Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s speech, it was clear he never made such comments and the reports are therefore inaccurate, at least those by the two agencies,” Khairy said.
He did not name the news outlets in his statement. However, Malay daily Berita Harian, and Singapore-based newspaper Straits Times both published reports that carried those figures on December 13, 2020.
“However, the errors within the report have not been corrected and can be accessed until today.
“I also want to remind media practitioners and newsmen to be more careful in their reports,” Khairy said.
Khairy added that he gave his version of the events to the PAC panel after being called up for clarification on the contrasting amount.