ASEAN must ensure COVID-19 vaccine, when available, must be affordable and accessible for all – Muhyiddin


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine, when available, must be affordable, accessible and equitably shared for all, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Prime Minister said as ASEAN endeavours to protect its populations against the serious threat of COVID-19, a vaccine is sorely needed.

“While progress on the development of a vaccine and anti-viral medicine has been encouraging, we must ensure that when the time comes – the vaccine must be affordable, accessible, and equitably shared for all,” Muhyiddin said at the 36th ASEAN Summit, held virtually and hosted by Vietnam. 

Muhyiddin joined the virtual summit from Putrajaya.

He said as of yesterday, more than 138,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in ASEAN, with over 4,000 deaths.

The Prime Minister said Malaysia appreciates this initiative taken by Vietnam, as ASEAN Chair, in convening today’s Summit via video-conference against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This truly is a historic moment for us in ASEAN. Our deliberations today bear testament to ASEAN’s resolve in building a cohesive and responsive community, in line with the theme of Vietnam’s chairmanship,” he said.

Malaysia is confident that under the able leadership of Vietnam, ASEAN will be able to achieve significant outcomes this year, notwithstanding the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19,” he said.

Muhyiddin said since its inception over a half-century ago, ASEAN has enabled the region to grow, prosper and engage with the world.

“It is now, more than ever, we need to show the world which is full of hate and divide, full of tears and suffering, that the ASEAN Way – which is far more than just leaders holding hands in photos – does work,” he said.

“Rest assured, Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to advancing our shared interests through a people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN Community will be our utmost priority in forging a joint destiny we can all be proud of,” Muhyiddin added.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN comprises 10 countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.