Malaysian Covid-19 vaccination certificates being sold online: Report

A member of The People's Volunteer Corps arranges vaccine cards at a clinic in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, on Jan 5, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Covid-19 vaccination certificates are being sold online, with some going for as high as RM3,500 (S$1,130).

Among the unvaccinated buyers are those who are desperate to obtain the certificates due to strict requirements set by their employers and those seeking to travel abroad, The Star found.

Errant clinics that provide "suntikan kosong" (empty jabs) can be found on social media platforms such as Facebook and Telegram.

The potential buyers will be asked to provide their full name, identity card number and MySejahtera number to obtain digital certificates within seven to 14 days.

Those who buy in bundles of five or more will be given a discount.

The seller also guarantees that all information pertaining to the transaction will be kept private.

A check by The Star saw a couple of sellers offering vaccination certificates.

A doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Star that these certificates are genuine, and the only thing the buyers will not be getting is their jabs.

Explaining this, the source said, clinics authorised to administer Covid-19 jabs would be given access to the Malaysia Vaccine Administration System (MyVAS).

"It is easy to get the certificate, all the doctor needs to do is to register your particulars in the system and that's it. You can get your physical and MySejahtera digital certificates straight away.

"If you log on to the system, everything will look the same, it will have the vaccine batch number, the clinics where they got the jabs and even the name of the doctor who administered the vaccination.

"So if the police manage to find those who admit to buying their certificates, they can find the sellers using this information.

"But if there's no proof of transaction and the buyers don't admit to buying the certs, it will be very difficult to know who had obtained the certificates illegally," the doctor said.

The source said doctors were only required to return empty vials to prove that the vaccination had been duly administered.

"There are many ways for them to cheat, the doctor can simply discard the vaccine and return the empty vials.

The Health Ministry, however, would be able to detect any abuse based on the number of vaccinations administered and stock delivered to the vaccination centres.

“For example, if a clinic received 1,000 vials of Pfizer, it can administer the vaccine to 6,000 people, but if they were to key in more in the system, say 6,050, this would raise suspicion,” the doctor said.

On Jan 17, Johor police busted a syndicate offering Covid-19 digital certificates at up to RM650 each.

Police arrested eight people including three employees of a private clinic.

Johor police chief Commissioner Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the syndicate, which has been operating for about a month, has issued  digital certificates to at least 30 people by charging up to RM650 each.

"All those who purchased these certificates are anti-vaxxers who refused the immunisation," he said during a press conference.

Datuk Kamarul revealed that the first arrest was made on Jan 17 when police carried out a series of raids in the city.

Police have also seized an array of items including a laptop used to register the people in the MySejahtera system and several mobile phones containing the digital certificates.

All the suspects aged from 24 to 42 have been remanded.

Asked if any doctors or medical personnel were involved, Datuk Kamarul said investigations are ongoing.

Federation of Private Medical Practitioners' Associations Malaysia president Steven KW Chow urged for strong and immediate action to be taken against all those involved.

"If a registered medical practitioner is proven to be involved, the offending doctor should be struck off the register after due process and never be allowed to practise as a doctor ever again."

Malaysian Medical Association president Koh Kar Chai said issuing fake vaccine certificates is a serious offence which could put countless lives in danger.

"It is shocking that more than 5,000 vaccination certificates were issued by the clinic located in Gombak to individuals without giving vaccinations. We will not allow a few black sheep to tarnish the good name and reputation of the profession," he added.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Raj Kumar Maharajah suggested that private practitioners should not be allowed to carry out vaccinations anymore.

He added: "Those who pay these doctors for fake vaccination certificates should be charged with bribery."

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