Palace Privilege And Polo Ponies
Earlier Sarawak Report had questioned the Agong’s hare-brained plan, suggested by his bosom buddies in Abu Dhabi (the ones who owe 1MDB around $6.5 billion in stolen money) to inject 500,000 Malaysians with an unlicensed drug for their vaccine trials.
The Director of Health shot down that stratagem only to now discover another even more outrageous caper has taken place behind his back, according to a devastating expose by the Asia Sentinel today that has gone viral.
The Agong, who plainly reckons he runs the country – understandably since he personally appointed a prime minister with no majority and then declared a state of emergency to keep him there – has apparently taken the vaccination of those who matter (his pals) into his own hands, flouting the law in the process and distributing elite ‘Vaccine Passports’ printed by the Ministry of Health, but not yet authorised by the government.
“The king and presumably his entourage are said by the sources to have been vaccinated as a favour with the Sinopharm vaccine in the UAE.. The vaccine has not been approved in Malaysia and is therefore illegal.
Sultan Abdullah, the sources say, was given an additional 2,000 doses for his family and friends to take home to Malaysia. With all of the Sultan’s family inoculated by two physicians – his personal physician Zulkarnain Ishmail, who practices at Gleneagles Hospital in Kuala Lumpur and Hanafiah Harounrashid, the vice chancellor of University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) – the excess vaccines were used for business partners and friends. The remainder was offered to Muhyiddin and other ministers – all of whom declined, as they were awaiting the Pfizer vaccine in a few weeks.
“The problem started when he instructed that the Ministry of Health issue the yellow booklets to show these people had been vaccinated and possibly allowing them to travel to countries which would accept the booklet,” the source said “Anyway, they would have peace of mind that they were less likely to get Covid than the average kampong dweller.”
“The Ministry had issued about 200-plus booklets to the King’s family and friends and others when the Director General of Health, Noor Hisham, stopped it upon being warned that it was criminal as the Chinese vaccine had not been approved by the government.” [read more in the Asia Sentinel]
This news has perhaps not surprised most Malaysians, only 3% of whom have been vaccinated so far despite some RM17 billion having been assigned at the last bloated budget to pay for jabs. After all, MPs have already themselves been vaccinated with the gold standard Pfizer vaccine (which has been licensed unlike the illegal Sinopharm) – the Agong’s administration still declines to recall Parliament nonetheless.
Apart from that in Malaysia only frontliners and those over 80 have so far qualified to be immunised as the country staggers through ‘Phase 1′ of the vaccination programme. The vaccine procurement minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, has explained that this is because ‘rich countries’ have grabbed all the vaccines first … leaving taxpayers to wonder what was wrong with their own RM17 billion touting for take-up and indeed where that money went, since the coup coalition boss PM Mahiaddin has now announced there is none left?
All this has come at a time of terrifying spike statistics as after a year of punitive lockdowns the country appears to have lost control of the situation, given the slow roll out of the vaccine (for most people). Sarawak is particularly badly affected as are all poor areas with poor sanitation and close quarter living.
Help is touted to be on its way with a new consignment of jabs heading out to these lowly areas. However, it is not Pfizer or even Sinopharm that has been offered but Sinovac for the common people. Khairy has neglected to highlight the rather unpromising statistics that have emerged for the at least licensed Sinovac, which indicate it is only 50% effective… compared to over 95% for the other main contenders on the market, such as Pfizer which he has himself had and Astra Zeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
One assumes that has meant Sinovac was on the market fairly cheap. One wonders for how much and where that vaccine money is going (according to Asia Sentinel’s well-connected sources “at least some vaccine procurement [has] seemingly diffused among competing parties thought to be aligned with top politicians”. However, answers are not to be had since the ‘Emergency Government’ is no longer subjecting itself to scrutiny on matters such as spending.
Will ‘kampung folk’ be warned about the third class nature of the jab being offered as they bare their trusting arms to hard-working frontline medics, who would dearly wish to be injecting something better?
It leaves onlookers wondering whether the Agong will be vaccinating his valuable polo pony collection next and with something rather smarter that what’s on offer for kampong folk? After all, princes plainly come first and next their prized possessions including valuable pets.
The Agong’s hundred or so Argentinian prized polo ponies are housed in air con stables (naturally) in his Pekan palace – rather more comfortably accommodated than the vast majority of his subjects therefore.
One would have to be on substances, as close associates have told Sarawak Report, to imagine these pets would not be fully taken care of.