Govt assures national sovereignty not violated in WHO CA+, IHR 2005 amendment negotiations

02 Nov 2023 04:05pm
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa during the Minister’s Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat, today. - Photo by Bernama
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa during the Minister’s Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat, today. - Photo by Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR - The government will ensure that Malaysia’s sovereignty is not violated in the negotiations on the Pandemic Treaty of the World Health Organisation Convention Agreement (WHO CA+) and on the amendment to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said Malaysia’s current stance is to neither ratify nor reject the new WHO instrument and the IHR 2005 amendment before Dec 1.

She said the discussions on preparing the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) documents for the WHO CA+ are still in initial stages and no decision will be made until everything is agreed upon.

The WHO CA+ aims to achieve greater equality and effectiveness for the prevention, preparedness, and response to epidemics through the full cooperation of the international community.

However, there is a fear that it will expand WHO's powers and trigger provisions in the agreement by encouraging governments to waive their intellectual property rights.

"The unity government will never compromise with any decision (WHO CA+ and IHR 2005 amendment) that is against the Federal Constitution.

"The government is committed to preserving national sovereignty, the powers of the Malay Rulers, and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” she said in reply to Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir's (PN-Setiu) during the Minister’s Question Time.

Dr Zaliha said Malaysia will also defend the principle of justice and solidarity in global health administration, in terms of developed countries needing to help developing countries with their resources as well as fair and equitable distribution of resources.

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She said Malaysia's participation in the negotiations is driven by the objective of building a stronger and sustainable healthcare system to ensure health resources are fairly accessible at a global level.

Meanwhile, during a press conference at the Parliament lobby, the minister said Malaysia has attended six of the 10 sessions in the WHO CA+ negotiation process, and the seventh one will be held from Nov 6 to 10.

"As for the IHR 2005 amendment negotiations, Malaysia has attended five of the eight sessions. This negotiation is ongoing until its completion next April," she said.

At the same time, Dr Zaliha said the Health Ministry is actively conducting engagement sessions with 12 agencies and other ministries to scrutinise the IHR 2005 amendment and WHO CA+.

Two committees have also been established to study Malaysia’s stand on the issue, the conclusions of which will be presented to the Cabinet, she added.

In a separate development, Dr Zaliha confirmed that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been admitted to hospital for a health issue.

"I can only confirm his hospital admission but I cannot elaborate on what happened, the treatment, illness, etc because it is confidential,” she said.

The media had earlier reported that Najib, who is serving a prison sentence, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday for Covid-19. - BERNAMA

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