Hanoi (VNA) – The Malaysian Government has issued a new emergency ordinance allowing it to use funds derived from oil and gas contributions to pay for vaccine procurement, part of efforts to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination.
The ordinance will enable the government to use the 17.4 billion MYR (4.23 billion USD) under the national trust fund to secure vaccines “for an epidemic of any infection disease”, according to the law published in the federal gazette.
The trust fund, which takes contributions from state energy company Petronas and others involved in petroleum exploitation, was set up to support infrastructure and other development and provide federal loans to Malaysia ‘s states.
In January, King Al-Sultan Abdullah declared a nationwide state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19, giving the government more power to enact temporary laws without parliamentary approval.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in March nearly doubled the country’s COVID-19 immunisation budget to 5 billion MYR with a view to helping achieve the government’s target of inoculating 80 percent of the country’s 32 million population by December.
As of April 20, nearly 750,000 people in Malaysia had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease while about 462,000 others are awaiting their second shots.
With nearly 382,000 cases, Malaysia has the third highest number of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia, following Indonesia and the Philippines./.