Malaysia will endorse International Agreements only if they uphold powers of Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, dignity of Rulers and Sovereignty.

Malaysia Will Endorse International Agreements Under Certain Conditions


The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) would like to inform that the Minister of Health will lead the Malaysian delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA77) from May 27 to 31, 2024. Key topics at the conference will include progress on negotiating targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 and negotiations on drafting a Pandemic Agreement.

The World Health Organization (WHO), along with all Member States, including Malaysia, has agreed to establish two international negotiation platforms as follows:

i) Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to develop an international instrument known as the Pandemic Agreement; and
ii) Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR) to make targeted amendments to the IHR 2005.

The establishment of both platforms aims to strengthen preparedness, prevention, detection, and response in relation to health emergencies, particularly pandemics, at the international level. It is noteworthy that both negotiation sessions are fully led by Member States, while WHO acts solely as the Secretariat for both sessions. All decisions are subject to the approval of Member States.

The systematic and comprehensive negotiation approaches adopted by INB and WGIHR provide opportunities for each country to voice their views and positions. Every proposal included in the draft documents is thoroughly discussed, taking into account the capacity, capability, and feasibility of Member States.

As of now, negotiations are still ongoing. The 9th (continued) session of INB, held from April 29 to May 10, 2024, will be extended until May 24, 2024, to determine the direction of preparing these new documents. The 8th (continued) session of WGIHR, which took place from May 16 to 18, 2024, will also be extended until May 24, 2024.

WHO has announced that the reports on the outcomes of negotiations for the Pandemic Agreement and targeted amendments to the IHR 2005 will be discussed during the 77th World Health Assembly, scheduled from May 27 to June 1, 2024. WHO has also stated that the amended IHR will not grant WHO the authority to mandate or compel any country to implement any health measures, including restrictions or lockdown orders, or any other actions.

MOH takes note of certain claims suggesting that Malaysia is jeopardizing its sovereignty in finalizing targeted amendments to the IHR 2005. However, MOH emphasizes that Malaysia’s participation in both negotiation platforms is aimed at safeguarding the nation’s public health interests, adhering to the following three (3) core principles:

(i) Sovereignty: The sovereignty of the nation and the authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Rulers are not compromised.
(ii) Equity: Developed countries assist developing nations to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of resources, such as pandemic-related health products, and to prevent monopolization by developed countries alone.
(iii) Funding: The establishment of health emergency financial mechanisms to address any potential pandemics without demanding any additional funds.

The negotiation process involves various ministries and agencies with a strong commitment to ensuring the protection of the nation’s and people’s interests while preserving the sovereignty of the country’s laws. Malaysia consistently ensures that fundamental principles such as sovereignty and autonomy, justice and solidarity, transparency, and equity are advocated in every negotiation.

If the instrument to be finalized is found to prioritize the fundamental principles upheld, especially the sovereignty of the nation, the Ministry of Health will elevate it to the Cabinet for approval for the Government to sign the instrument. Until then, the Government is not bound by the said instrument.

MOH consistently reviews and monitors international negotiations for targeted amendments to the IHR 2005 and the preparation of the Pandemic Agreement. The latest developments regarding both negotiations will be communicated periodically.

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