RM94m needed for Covax upfront payment

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MALAYSIA’S participation in the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (Covax) will require an upfront payment and risk-sharing guarantee which will cost the government US$22.6 million or about RM94 million.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that on Nov 13, the Cabinet ministers decided for Malaysia to finalise participation in the Covax facility by signing the Optional Purchase Agreement.

“For the time being, the Health Ministry (MoH) and the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI) are finalising the dates to sign the agreement.

“The decision for Malaysia to join the facility will involve a cost comprising an upfront payment and risk-sharing guarantee totalling US$22.66 million or about RM94.08 million,” he said in a response to Lim Guan Eng (Pakatan Harapan [PH]-Bagan) during the minister question time yesterday.

He said the Cabinet ministers have agreed for Malaysia to join the Covax facility which will assure vaccine supply for 10% of the population in the country.

The Cabinet has also decided for MoH to represent the country in finalising its participation in the facility and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to review the terms and conditions for the agreement set by GAVI.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has confirmed that it has funds for the upfront payment mentioned by Khairy Jamaluddin in the Dewan Rakyat.

“We have existing funds that can be used to cover the upfront payment,” said the ministry.

Khairy Jamaluddin previously said the government needed an estimated RM3 billion for the procurement of the vaccine.

As the allocation was not clearly stated in Budget 2021, he clarified that the allocation will be included in the country’s Covid-19 Special Fund.

Separately, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said the government will restrict the movements of foreign workers to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He was responding to a question from Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang) who asked for the government’s immediate plans to prevent the spread of the virus among construction workers due to rising positive cases among the group.

Mohd Redzuan said the National Security Council meeting on Wednesday tasked the Human Resource Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry to review accommodation plans and to provide comprehensive facilities for foreign workers.

“To curb the spread of the virus among foreign workers especially in the construction sector, the government will implement comprehensive measures to tackle the issue and review the needs of the foreign workers in red zones,” he said.

He added that a detailed study is also being conducted on the mechanism and procedures for foreign workers to undergo Covid-19 tests.

The Damanlela construction site saw a spike in cases as it recorded the highest number of new cases on Sunday at 460. This was then followed by 385 more new cases for the cluster on Monday.


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Malaysia needs RM94.08mil for Covax facility upfront payment