Annoyed Guan Eng tells Penang CM to take free vaccines, face backlash later

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Former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has urged his successor Chow Kon Yeow to accept a private firm’s offer to sponsor two million doses of vaccine for the state.

He argued that people’s lives mattered and described the move to prevent access to the vaccines as nothing short of a crime.

According to Chow, who spoke at the same press conference in Penang this evening, the Health Ministry rejected the state government’s application in March for the Sinovac vaccines.

With Covid-19 cases escalating nationwide, the chief minister appealed to Putrajaya to reconsider its decision.

However, Lim felt that the state government should accept the free vaccines and deal with the consequences later.

“I want to propose to Chow, just take it. If they (Putrajaya) want to punish us, let them do it. What’s wrong with this country? Rejecting free vaccines!” he thundered.

“I propose that the state government take it and let them (the authorities) confiscate it (the vaccines). I will leave it to Chow and the state government to handle this, but this is a crime,” he added.

Lim, who noted that the people were furious over the issue, was unable to contain his own feeling of indignation on the matter.

“This is a crime committed by the PN government,” he reiterated.

“Political donations can, but vaccine donation cannot. Kepala otak dia. I am sorry to say this, but I am very angry.

“How can this happen? If we have two million doses of vaccine, all frontliners, senior citizens and high-risk groups can be saved, many lives can be saved,” Lim added.

Meanwhile, Chow questioned the reason some states were forbidden from acquiring their own vaccines when Selangor and Sarawak were allowed to do so.

Following the firm’s offer to sponsor the vaccines, Chow said a letter was sent to the Health Ministry seeking approval.

In a written response dated March 12, the ministry rejected the request, telling the state government to wait for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme to be rolled out.

“We hope the government will reconsider the request, so we can contact the company again.

“The company expressed its willingness to continue with the vaccine sponsorship. Hence, the offer is still valid,” said the chief minister.

Furthermore, Chow said the move would also help the ministry as it could divert the vaccines to other states as well.

“People are not happy with the inconsistency and double standard,” he added. – Malaysiakini