Zaliha Mustafa is burying her head in the sand over IHR amendments

The deadline for the International Health Regulations (IHR) amendment is still December 1

Murray Hunter

The Minister for Health has mislead parliament in her statement concerning the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR). In parliament on November 2, Zaliha dismissed claims that the government must decide on the Pandemic Treaty of the World Health Organisation Conventional Agreement’s (WHO CA+) amendments to the Internal Health Regulation (IHR 2005).

Zaliha said “The government’s stand with regards to the new instrument, WHO CA+, and amendments to the IHR 2005, will not be decided or objected before December 1.

Deadline for important amendment is December 1

There is now less than 3 weeks to go before the deadline passes for Malaysia to reject the IHR amendments, which are up before all nations. These new amendments become valid in May 2024.

How much money is Zaliha committing Malaysia to?

In 2022, it was decided by the WHO that the deadline to opt out of the IHR amendments would be December 1. By Malaysia saying nothing, this is giving the tacit approval required to pass the amendments. If this amendment is not rejected, in future there would only be 10 months for Malaysia to consider any new regulations.

There are financial obligations Zaliha is committing Malaysia to

Most Malaysians don’t even know about the IHR and the proposed amendments being discussed. The minister Zaliha Mustafa has admitted, she doesn’t understand the implications of the amendments.

This makes a strong case to Malaysia to at least reserve their decision on December 1.

Most importantly, the costs of agreeing to the amendments on December 1 have not been calculated by the government. How much are the new regulations going to force the nation to spend on WHO programs and directives?

The costs to Malaysia from the new regulations must be debated and passed by the parliament. Otherwise these costs could seriously strain the existing health budget.

The financial implications are particularly important, as they will be binding upon Malaysia, and subject to the International Courts, if Malaysia doesn’t make its required contributions.