Pharmaniaga Says Sabah Businessman, Who Offered Sinovac Covid-19 Vaccine To Penang, Never Contacted Them

A general view of the residence purportedly belonging to one Yong Chee Kong in Kota Kinabalu May 20, 2021. — Picture by Julia Chan

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — Pharmaniaga Bhd has revealed that the Sabah businessman who claimed that he wanted to purchase two million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine for Penang never contacted the company.

Pharmaniaga Bhd is the exclusive distributor of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia.

According to a Star Online report, its managing director Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said that the company also had not reached out to the businessman.

“They never contacted us, and we also did not contact them,” he was quoted as saying.

Zulkarnain said this when asked by reporters whether businessman Yong Chee Kong and the company he purportedly represents — Xintai Development Enterprise Ltd — had contacted Pharmaniaga Bhd over any vaccine purchase.

Yong made headlines recently with his “offer” to donate two million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to Penang.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had previously said that initial checks showed the donation offer appeared to be bogus.

Khairy, who is also minister in charge of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, said Sinovac China confirmed that it had no dealings with Xintai Development Enterprise Ltd.

Meanwhile, the police had on Friday recorded a statement from Yong, with investigations linked to police reports lodged in Penang.

Yong, who is from Tawau, said that he made the offer on behalf of his “boss”, the managing director of a Hong Kong-based company.

Yong said that he first offered the two million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to Sabah earlier this year, but the state had rejected it as the drug had yet to be approved by the Malaysian government then.

On May 21, Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun denied all knowledge of the purported offer to Borneo Post Online.

Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government will be acquiring 8.2 million doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June, of which 3.8 million will come via the “fill and finish” process by Pharmaniaga Life Science Sdn Bhd.

He explained that 4.4 million doses of the Sinovac  Covid-19 vaccine were imported directly from China, with 400,000 already distributed and one million doses having arrived, adding that the remaining three million would be received by the end of June.

“From the Pharmaniaga Life Science Sdn Bhd plant, 1.8 million are ready while two more million would be available by the end of June, thus giving the government a total of 8.2 million doses,” he said.

Sinovac Life Sciences of China appointed Pharmaniaga as an exclusive distributor of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia in a ceremony signed early this year.


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