Malaysia’s government adopted a new emergency law on Wednesday (April 21) allowing it to use funds from oil and gas donations to pay for vaccine procurement as part of its Covid-19 vaccination program.
According to the legislation published in the federal gazette, the government will be able to use the 17.4 billion ringgit (S$5.62 billion) parked under the national trust fund to procure vaccines “for an outbreak of any infection disease.”The trust fund was established to support infrastructure and other development as well as provide federal loans to Malaysia’s states, with contributions coming from state energy company Petronas and others involved in petroleum exploitation.
Petronas also pays the government annual dividends, with an 18 billion ringgit payout planned for this year.
To combat the spread of Covid-19, King Al-Sultan Abdullah proclaimed a nationwide state of emergency in January, granting the government broad powers to enact temporary laws without parliamentary approval.Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin nearly doubled Malaysia’s Covid-19 immunisation budget to five billion ringgit in March, claiming that this would help the government meet its goal of inoculating 80% of the country’s 32 million people by December.
The opposition and the general public, on the other hand, have chastised the government for what they say is the slow implementation of the vaccination programme, which was announced in February.
According to data from the health ministry, nearly 750,000 people have been completely vaccinated as of Tuesday, with about 462,000 more waiting for their second shots.In Malaysia, its infection rate at Covid-19 rose sharply by the end of 2020, most of the time being controlled.
Now with nearly 382 000 positive cases and 1,400 deaths as of Wednesday, the third largest number of infections occur within the region behind Indonesia and the Philippines.