By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, June 9: The police are conducting an investigation involving Facebook page administrator ‘Gabriel Walter’ who was alleged to have published a false statement regarding the number of AstraZeneca vaccine doses received by Sarawak.
Kuching District Police Chief ACP Ahsmon Bajah said a police report has been lodged against a “Gabriel Walter” by Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) staff yesterday (June 8).
The statement which was uploaded on the Sarawak Covid-19 Awareness Group’s Facebook page says “114,300 AztraZeneca dose ‘missing’ from Sarawak quota. Only 38,500 dose delivered to Sarawak. ScoVag and SDMC please answer the public”.
“This statement can cause confusion and negative public perception towards the government, especially the State government which is now trying its best to provide vaccines for the people.
“The police in collaboration with the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will hunt down the individuals involved and bring them to justice,” Ahsmon said in a statement, today.
An investigation paper has been opened under Section 4 (1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance (No.2) 2021 which provides for a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Dr Gabriel Walter explained that the post was not meant to hurt anyone but a genuine quest for the truth as the numbers revealed by Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who is also in charge of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pick) do not tally.
In a statement to DayakDaily, he said a total of 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was offered throughout Malaysia through the second AstraZeneca opt-in programme (May 23 to 26, 2021). Each dose represents one reservation slot. As a result, 1.24 million slots were opened for booking.
He then pointed out that from May 23 to May 26, the slots on offer were reported to have been fully booked by Malaysians. (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nst.com.my/amp/news/nation/2021/05/692721/astrazeneca-20-vaccination-only-senior-citizens-now).
“On May 27, 2021, YB Khairy Jamaludin issued a statement that 152,800 slots had been taken in Sarawak. This 152,800 is the quota that has been allocated for Sarawak.” (https://dayakdaily.com/sarawak-allocated-152800-slots-for-astrazeneca-opt-in-vaccine/)
He further noted that on June 7, on the first day of AstraZeneca vaccination in Sarawak, at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching(BCCK), Ambrose Cheng, Press Secretary of the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office, released a statement that only 30,000 people had registered for the AstraZeneca vaccine and there is still room for another 8,500 people to register.
“So, this is 30,000 doses plus 8,500 doses or 38,500 slots or 38,500 doses. (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10223173863966689&id=1585412279)
“This statement contradicts the statement of YB Khairy Jamaludin who said that 152,800 people in Sarawak have successfully registered in the Opt In AstraZeneca program.
“So I issued a statement, so that ScoVag and SDMC can explain what happened with the 114,300 doses that were ‘missing’ as 152,800 minus 38,500 equals 114,300.(https://m.facebook.com/groups/1201123683590697/permalink/1450122038690859/)
“Unfortunately, I have been accused of giving false news even though the statements and data released by all parties are clear,” said Gabriel.
He went on to point out that on May 26, 2021, many Sarawakians were unable to register for the AstraZeneca Opt-in Programme, as they had been told all Sarawak quotas had been fully booked.
“Don’t the people have the right to ask why only finally 30,000 people were registered when there are still 8,500 spaces for them to register?” Gabriel questioned.
In his opinion, Sarawak desperately needs vaccines. If 152,800 doses have been allocated to Sarawak through the AstraZeneca Opt-In Programme, then SDMC should ensure that all 152,800 slots or doses have indeed been taken by Sarawak, and not just 38,500 slots as reported by the Press Secretary of the Chief Minister’s Office. — DayakDaily