GEORGE TOWN, May 19 — The offer of two million doses of Sinovac vaccine by a private company for Penang is probably a sham as investigations found there is no such company, said National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said his team had contacted Sinovac Biotech Ltd in China which confirmed that there was no evidence or application received by representatives of the company on the intended offer.
He said according to the letter received by Penang Chief Minister dated Feb 1 2021, it was written by Yong Chee Kong of Kota Kinabalu and the contribution was in the form of payment to Sinovac Biotech for two million doses of vaccine.
“The writer of the letter introduced himself as a Malaysian and the managing director of Xintai Development Enterprise Ltd based in Hong Kong
“In the latter, the writer said he would pay a deposit of US$2 million if Penang agrees and the individual had contacted Sinovac Biotech through its international sales representative, Coco Chang,” he said in a virtual media conference today.
Khairy, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister said the woman named as international sales representative confirmed she is not managing sales in Asia and denied being contacted over the contribution.
In fact, Khairy said the ministry also received a letter from the same writer on Feb 9 2021, pledging two million doses of vaccine to the Sabah state government.
“When we received the letter, I referred it to Sinovac and found the offer was not real. This is a scam, this is bogus. Do not politicise the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme with this scam.
“I welcome parties who are willing to donate vaccine but it must go through the proper channel. Vaccines are controlled items and they are not easily purchased or imported. This is not like buying a t-shirt on Shopee,” he said, adding that the ministry will ask the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) to lodge a police report on the individual whose identity is unknown.
Commenting on the progress of the immunisation programme, he said the government is trying to increase the pace of vaccination and he is confident that the pace would pick up month-on-month from June onwards with more supplies coming in including Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
He said on average, the rate of vaccination was between 30,000 and 40,000 a day but the numbers hit 76,000 yesterday.
“It is going up. At the rate I am confident we are projecting to finish by year-end,” he added.