Press Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
It is pertinent that the newly formed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)on Health, Science & Innovation is properly briefed on the updates and progress of the Covid-19 vaccine procurement and even distribution plan by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation in spirit of transparency and also no remove any doubts that has been raised that will affect the public confidence, hesitancy and acceptance of the vaccine itself.
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic I strongly believe this bi-partisan PSC plays an important role to scrutinise and to give input especially on the approach taken by the government to handle Covid-19 including the procurement and distribution of Vaccine that is scheduled to first arrive in February 2021 the earliest.
Since the announcement of the formation of the new PSC, I have been in contact with the Speaker of the House to push for this PSC to convene a meeting swiftly and get down to work due to the urgency and huge public interest on the matter.
Since the expose of a Belgian Minister on the prices of Covid-19 vaccines, there were many questions raised by different parties on the actual cost to our country, whether there are possible leakages and whether we are getting the best deal from the RM3b that was allocated by the Federal Government to help vaccinate at least 70% of our population in order to achieve some sort of herd immunity.
While in Parliament, the Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin has made clarifications to some of these questions, but there will still be continuous questions throughout the process and the best platform for the Ministry to provide such accountability and transparency will be to the PSC on Health, Science & Innovation as they are empowered by Parliament to scrutinise the whole process to make sure that it reaches it intended target and minimise risk of corruption, wastage or abuse.
With more transparency and accountability, we can then increase public confidence on the vaccine and curb misinformation, confusion and hesitancy which will definitely affect the government’s mass vaccination plans
We also need to make sure that we are not left behind compared to other countries without compromising on the safety and security of our people.
The PSC is empowered to call up different stakeholders including people from the Ministry, different Healthcare Associations, research institutes, private medical fraternities, NGOs and many others to provide their input into our country’s Covid-19 approach.
One of the major concerns is that based on the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)’s projection, Malaysia is projected to experience a continuous rise in Covid-19 cases until mid-March 2021, hitting over 5000 infections daily from February 25th.
If there is no urgent intervention, we may see our healthcare system being overwhelmed again by April or June.
That is why a whole of-society approach is needed, that is why the National Vaccine Roadmap that is being developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI) must be properly scrutinised and receive the necessary inputs from different stakeholders, including politicians from the 2 divide.
This can be done through this PSC through a joint collaboration to exemplify and coordinate communications to make sure this vaccine reaches its intended target and that no one get left behind regardless of their status, demographics or background.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching