Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaludin said that the donation of two million doses of Covid-19 Sinovac vaccines from a private company offered to the Penang state is bogus and untrue.
In a press conference yesterday, the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) coordinating minister said that checks made with Sinovac showed there is no evidence to show that the company — Xintai Development Enterprise — had approached them to purchase the vaccines for Penang state.
“I’ve reached out to Ms Coco Chang, Head of International Sales at Sinovac Biotech on this donation and she has informed me that she has had zero dealings with the company or the person the letter was addressed to — Yong Chee Kong,” he said.
“The offer is bogus. It is completely untrue. We checked with Sinovac and they have no dealings with the company, we checked with company records in Hong Kong, and the company does not exist. No one even knows who Yong Chee Kong is.”
He also said the Penang state government should not have politicised the matter by accusing the federal government of blocking its attempt to procure Covid-19 vaccines.
“How can the Penang state government use a scam letter to accuse the federal government of blocking a vaccine donation? This company does not exist.
“This is a vaccine, a highly-regulated product. This isn’t buying a t-shirt from Shopee. This letter is bogus,” he added, referring to the online shopping platform.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the company that offered to donate two million doses of Sinovac vaccines to the Penang government must clear the air on its status.
He said this was important following Khairy Jamaluddin’s disclosure that the company was a bogus entity and was running a scam.
Chow also said the allegations levelled by Khairy against the company were serious.
“The serious allegations must compel the company and its director who was named by the minister to come forward and clear the air on the disclosure,” he said in a statement.
Chow added that the state government had consulted the Penang Health Department for its views after receiving the letter from the company offering to donate the vaccines.
The department had subsequently advised the state government to bring the matter to the attention of the Health Ministry for further advice.
He said following that, the secretary of the Penang government Abdul Razak Jaafar had written a letter to the chief secretary of the Health Ministry in Putrajaya, Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, on February 15, 2021, to seek the ministry’s views.
Chow, however, said Shafiq responded on March 12, stating that there was no need for the state government to consider the offer as Putrajaya was carrying out the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“The Health Ministry’s chief secretary Mohd Shafiq Abdullah did not touch on the company’s status at all,” he added.
“The Penang government could not follow up on the matter as it was unable to provide an approval letter from MOH to the company to allow them to carry out the negotiation with the vaccine manufacturer,” he said.
Related report: May 18, Annoyed Guan Eng tells Penang CM to take free vaccines, face backlash later