Khairy Jamaluddin admits ministers ruining credibility of Malaysia’s lockdown: Report

Khairy Jamaluddin at an industry vaccination center at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Khairy Jamaluddin/Twitter
Khairy Jamaluddin at an industry vaccination center at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Khairy Jamaluddin/Twitter

The minister in charge of Malaysia’s vaccine rollout touched on his peers’ shortcomings when speaking to one of Australia’s largest newspaper outlets about the country’s coronavirus response. 

Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin told Sydney Morning Herald recently that headlines about Malaysian ministers flouting COVID-19 rules were tarnishing the credibility of the country’s latest lockdown, which returned indefinitely in June.  

In an interview that was published today, Khairy stressed that “leadership by example is very important,” however, “I think on that score, we have made some errors.” 

While there was no perfect response to a government’s handling of COVID-19, he said that the Malaysian government “could have done certain things better.” 

Khairy did not name drop any of his colleagues, but several politicians including International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali have been widely criticized by the public for going on nonessential overseas trips. 

With pandemic fatigue setting in, urging people to comply with COVID-19 rules has also become an uphill task, he said.

“I’m not blaming the public here. To observe these very, very unnatural limitations and restrictions on your behaviour or your movements (is difficult). Eventually, there will be a time where people just let their guard down,” he said. 

Khairy thinks that Malaysia’s only way out of the crisis was to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible. The vaccine coordinating minister said that Malaysia had been able to accelerate vaccinations after renegotiating the supply and delivery of vaccines it procured, mostly from Pfizer-BioNTech. The government had also diversified its vaccine portfolio since it was “dangerous to put all our eggs in one or two baskets,” Khairy said. 

“I think we are at the stage now where we really need to vaccinate ourselves out of the situation that we have found ourselves in,” he said. 

Yesterday, 434,838 doses of the vaccine were administered. Malaysia has among the fastest vaccination rates in the world, outperforming Canada, which has a similar-sized population, in the past week, and double the pace of Australia.

Overall, 12,647,558 vaccine doses have been administered since the national immunization program began, with 17.1% of the adult population (or 12.3% of the total population) fully vaccinated so far.

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