PETALING JAYA: Doctors in the country have called for a thorough investigation into fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates while roundly condemning the practice.

Doctors and medical groups said the case of a Terengganu doctor who was caught for allegedly issuing fake vaccination certificates for a price had tarnished the image of their profession.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah described the act as “unethical” and expressed hope that the authorities would get to the bottom of the matter.

“It is an unethical practice. The police will investigate these cases,” said Dr Noor Hisham in a brief text to The Star.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) called for a full investigation by the authorities.

The organisation urged authorities to probe the possibility of a syndicate being behind the fake vaccination certificates.

“We also urge the public to lodge a report with the authorities if they come across any corrupt activities in the healthcare sector.

“MMA does not condone such activities that destroy the integrity of the medical profession, more so when they cause harm to the health of all,” said MMA president Dr Koh Kar Chai in a statement.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said he was shocked by the Terengganu case, where a doctor in private practice was suspected of charging between RM400 and RM600 for fake vaccine certificates.

“Our association stands up for doctors, but when one of them breaks the rules and (ethical code), we cannot condone such behaviour.

“We hope the police will investigate this matter, and if the doctor is found guilty, severe action should be taken against him,” he said.

A medical practitioner said the doctor must be punished in accordance with the law, if found guilty.

“The medical practitioner community is upset by this irresponsible act,” said consultant physician and nephrologist Dr Rafidah Abdullah, adding that they were “disgusted” by it.

“We are all upset. Whatever the law is, the perpetrator should be punished. He deserves to get the punishment in line with the law.

“I hope public confidence towards the national vaccination programme will not be affected by this act,” she added.

On social media, Malaysians expressed their dismay over the news of the Terengganu doctor selling fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Although he did not leave any comment, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was among many users who retweeted news articles on the case.

Dr Khairul Hafidz Alkhair, the founder of medical Twitter account MedTweetMy, commented on the case and said action should also be taken against those who bought the fake vaccine certificates.

“This incident should not have happened; it is an act that embarrasses the profession. If found guilty, severe punishment must be meted out. The Malaysian Medical Council should also revoke the doctor’s licence,” Dr Khairul said in a tweet.

A 51-year-old private clinic doctor in Marang, Terengganu, was arrested on suspicion of issuing fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Rohaimi Md Isa said that a total of 1,900 individuals dealt with the clinic for vaccination purposes, as police continue investigations into how many did not get the injection.