Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccine procurement bypassed Attorney General’s approval

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, has disclosed that certain sections of the Covid-19 vaccine procurement agreement were not referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC). Anwar’s statement comes after he previously mentioned “irregularities” in Malaysia’s multi-billion-ringgit purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. The Prime Minister addressed the issue during a parliamentary session, in response to a question raised by Tanjong Karang MP Datuk Zulkafperi Hanapi.

“In the question of vaccine, Tanjong Karang did not look at the entirety [of the matter]. There were some truths that were raised, there were parts of [the agreement] which were not referred to the AGC.”

The Health White Paper tabled last week in Parliament had mentioned that the Covid-19 vaccine procurement was done without the approval of the AGC. The Ministry of Health had previously stated that the government signed a Covid-19 vaccine procurement agreement that favoured producers and suppliers more than the country’s coffers in order to save lives. Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni explained that the situation at the time was about life and death.

On February 8, Anwar claimed that ministers from previous administrations had signed off on Malaysia’s Covid-19 procurement without the express approval of the AGC. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, two ministries were responsible for managing Covid-19 pandemic-related matters and the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme. Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba was the health minister, while Khairy Jamaluddin served as the science, technology, and innovation minister under the administration of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, which began in March 2020.

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Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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