Claims that govt need to decide WHO's pandemic treaty by Dec 1 not true, says Health Minister [NSTTV]

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa today dismissed claims that the government must decide by Dec 1, on the Pandemic Treaty of the World Health Organisation Conventional Agreement's (WHO CA+) amendments to the Internal Health Regulation (IHR 2005).

"The Malaysian government's stance on the new WHO CA+ instrument and the amendments to the IHR will not be decided, ratified, or rejected before Dec 1.

"Hence, all the claims are not true," she said in response to Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir (PN-Setiu) in Dewan Rakyat today.

Shaharizukirnain asked about the ministry's position regarding WHO CA+ and the amendment of the IHR 2005, where a decision must be made whether to ratify or reject it before Dec 1.

Dr Zaliha said negotiations are still ongoing and will continue until all the negotiations are completed by April next year.

"I would like to stress that negotiation with the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) WHO CA+ is still ongoing and at the preliminary stages and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."

On the WHO CA+ negotiations, Dr Zaliha said Malaysia has attended six out of 10 INB sessions.

"The seventh meeting will take place from Nov 6 to 10. As for the negotiations related to the amendment of the IHR, Malaysia has participated in five out of eight sessions.

"The sixth meeting will be held on Dec 7 and 8.

"These negotiations are ongoing and will continue until all negotiations are completed by April next year."

Dr Zaliha added the draft of WHO CA+ and the amendment of IHR will be tabled during the 75th World Health Assembly, held in May next year.

She said the country's position on this issue is clear.

"The sovereignty and autonomy of the country cannot be violated by any party. Any enactment of international law must not conflict with the Federal Constitution, the national sovereignty, the authority of the Malay Rulers and the authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and must not violate the Fundamental Rights of the Citizen.

"Secondly, Malaysia defends the principles of justice and solidarity in global health administration. Malaysia believes it is important for developed countries to help developing countries with the resources they have. The distribution of resources must be fair and equitable.

"Thirdly, Malaysia's participation in these negotiations is driven by the goal of building a stronger and more sustainable health care system."

The country, she said, recognises the need to develop capacity, strong collaboration and coordination among industries to improve preparedness for any future outbreaks.

"This approach aims to ensure that health resources are equitable and globally accessible, contributing to a stronger health care system.

"Last, the ministry prioritises transparency in delivering accurate information to the public, where the openness in negotiations and the availability of information on the WHO website."

Dr Zaliha said the ministry is currently engaging 12 ministries and agencies to scrutinise the amendment to IHR 2005 and WHO CA+. She added the government will ensure the country's sovereignty is always prioritised in negotiations over WHO CA+ and the IHR amendment.

The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) was previously reported to have demanded that the government reject the WHO CA+ negotiations and IHR 2005 amendment for fear that it could threaten the country's sovereignty.

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