PETALING JAYA: Malaysia and China have signed an agreement to deepen cooperation over the development of and accessibility to a Covid-19 vaccine.
The agreement, which was signed virtually by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and his Chinese counterpart Wang Zhigang on Wednesday (Nov 18), aims to forge greater collaboration between both countries to combat the pandemic.
The agreement will be operationalised under the supervision of a high-level committee that will be chaired by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi as agreed upon on Oct 13 this year.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Science Technology and Innovation Ministry said Khairy and Wang had agreed to increase collaboration in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic through science diplomacy.
"The agreement provides for Malaysia to be given priority access to Covid-19 vaccines developed by China, knowledge sharing and expertise as well as facilitate scientific and technological capabilities to advance vaccine development in both countries.
"Both countries will also support the participation of their public and private sectors including universities, institutions, societies, and organisations in joint collaborative projects," they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
They added that both governments agreed to support and encourage their enterprises to establish all-round cooperation in vaccine research and development, as well as supply.
The agreement was to remain in force for an initial five-year period and would be automatically extended for another one year each at a time upon mutual agreement by both parties.
"Great step forward for Malaysia-China relations in the post-pandemic era. Vaccine priority, along with other bilateral economic, social and cultural matters is part of a wider overarching framework under the high level committee co-chaired by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and me," Hishammuddin said in a tweet.
Khairy, who tweeted about the signing of the bilateral agreement, also said that he had discussed a mutually accepted blockchain-enabled digital health passport to facilitate a travel corridor for vaccinated citizens from both countries.