By Channel NewsAsia
Kuala Lumpur – The chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Azam Baki has pledged to investigate claims of doctors receiving bribes from those refusing Covid-19 vaccines in exchange for vaccination certificates.
In a statement today (Aug 31), Azam said there were claims from the public that doctors or other parties might be offered bribes to issue vaccination certificates even though no vaccines were injected. He added that he viewed such claims seriously.
“This act not only involves the issue of corruption, but also compromises the reputation of the medical practitioners, thus tarnishing their image if the matter has really happened,” said the statement.
“So far, the MACC has not received any complaints related to the issue but we will investigate and conduct intelligence on locations suspected of committing such acts of malpractice.”
The Star recently reported that several clinics in Penang have been bombarded with calls from anti-vaxxers who wanted to buy digital Covid-19 vaccination certificates.
A clinic in Penang shared on Facebook that it has received many random calls from people who offered to pay for the vaccines but refused to be injected. They did so because they wanted the digital vaccination certificates, it claimed.
Those who are fully vaccinated in Malaysia are subject to less stringent Covid restrictions. For instance, people who are fully vaccinated in states and territories under phase one of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) are allowed to dine-in. They can also visit night markets and weekly markets.
On Monday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob urged Malaysians to get vaccinated immediately to help the country recover from Covid-19.
Malaysia is in a tough battle against Covid-19, having averaged more than 20,000 daily cases over the last week.
Today, the country recorded 20,897 new cases. There have been more than 1.7 million Covid cases in Malaysia so far and more than 16,000 deaths in total.
As of Monday, 63.6 percent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated. The government is aiming to raise this figure to 100 per cent by the end of October.
Earlier this month, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government will announce actions to be taken against anti-vaccine groups.
“We will study and conduct some research about this (anti-vaccine) group. We need to know the background, whether most of them are so sick that they are afraid to take the vaccine, or they don’t want to take the vaccine because they don’t believe (in it),” he was quoted as saying by Bernama on Aug 12.
“So, when we have analysed … if the percentage is very small, it is not worrying. But if it is big, we have to find a way, whether to (make it) mandatory under the existing legal provisions. It will be decided by the government within this month or next month.”
A medical staff member administers the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine to a health personnel at Sunway Medical Centre in Subang Jaya, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, on March 11, 2021. Photo: Mohd Rasfan / AFP