On 22 January, Ambassador Oka had a virtual signing ceremony to provide medical equipment from Japan to Malaysia. On the ceremony, Ambassador Oka had mentioned as follows.
● I would like to express my profound appreciation and deep respect on behalf of the Japanese community in Malaysia to Your Excellency for the dedicated efforts that all the members of the Ministry and the front-line medical officers are making to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and thereby to keep us safe in Malaysia.
● It is therefore with great honour and pleasure for me to sign, together with Your Excellency and on behalf of the Japanese government, the Exchange of Notes for the provision of medical equipment worth approximately US $5 million from Japan to Malaysia. We sincerely hope that this grant cooperation will help the Malaysian government to cope with COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for providing diagnosis and treatment for the Malaysian people. I sincerely hope that the medical equipment will be put to use for the benefit of the Malaysian people soon.
● Since last year, when the world started to struggle with COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese Government has been providing assistance through various channels, not only bilaterally but regionally and internationally, to help the people in the world to cope with the virus.
● In Malaysia, today’s grant assistance for the provision of medical equipment is in addition to the contribution the Japanese government has already made through international organizations, namely IFRC, UNICEF and UNHCR in Malaysia, worth approximately US＄2million, to help alleviate the difficulties the socially vulnerable people in Malaysia are facing through providing food, PPEs, medical vehicles and ICT equipment for online education.
● In ASEAN, it gives us pleasure to see a steady progress toward the establishment of “the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases”. The then Prime Minister Abe had expressed his full support to the proposal on the occasion of the ASEAN+3 summit last April and the agreement reached to set up this Centre on the occasion of the ASEAN summit last November was regarded as an important milestone.
● The Government of Japan will continue to support the Centre, in addition to the financial support of US＄50 million which have been fully funded, through the dispatch of experts and the provision of training through JICA's technical cooperation, so that it can become the core of infectious disease control in the ASEAN region including Malaysia.
● Response to pandemic requires global cooperation. From this standpoint, the government of Japan has been providing assistance through international arrangement as well, based on our firm belief that no one should be left behind in our global fight against COVID-19. In the light of the urgency of the development and the global distribution of vaccine, it gives us a great pleasure that both Japan and Malaysia are contributing to the COVAX facilities.
● We fully support the statement of Prime Minister Muhyiddin on the need for affordable and equitable access to vaccine be provided to everyone in the world. To fulfill our commitment, Japanese government has contributed US＄170 million through GAVI for vaccine development and US＄130 million through COVAX facilities for the global distribution of vaccine.
● I thank Your Excellency for your kind attention to this ceremony out of your busy schedule and I hope that the provision of medical equipment through this grant cooperation which symbolizes the friendship between Japan and Malaysia will be useful and beneficial for the government and the people of Malaysia.
(For your information)
Japanese international assistance to cope with COVID-19 includes the following；
- Additional contribution to WHO (USD 50 million)
- Support for medical equipment procurement worth approximately $480 million in total globally
- Proposal for the establishment of “the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases” as an organization to protect people in the ASEAN region from the threat of infectious diseases, and financial support of USD 50 million through JAIF
- Capacity building support through JICA, including strengthening of health and medical system and medium and long term capacity building
- Up to approximately $5 billion in loans globally over two years to support the emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis
- Grant of Avigan tablets
- Assistance globally through UNICEF, UNHCR and other international organizations
- Financial support in total of USD 300 million to Gavi and others for the development and global distribution of vaccine (Contribution of USD130million for development of vaccine through GAVI and USD 170million for global distribution of vaccine through COVAX facilities)