The minister had to step in to prevent misinformation spreading like wildfire.
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As Malaysia finally received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines this week, conspiracy theorists couldn’t help but exclaim that the vaccines are linked to the Illuminati – a cabal that supposedly controls the world.
What caused the connection between the vaccine and Illuminati? OneWorld.
Wild conspiracy theories spread like wildfire
You see, people noticed the OneWorld logo emblazoned on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH606 carrying Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 10.00am, 21 February.
Social media commenters linked it to the New World Order (NWO) conspiracy theory which hypothesizes a secret plot to form a totalitarian world government. Other comments also harkened the arrival of the vaccines to the arrival of “dajjal” (aka Antichrist).
The conspiracies were so widespread that even Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had to voice out against them.
Replying to one such social media anti-vax post, Khairy plainly stated that the vaccine is not dajjal and that OneWorld is the name of an airline alliance.
Vaksin bukan dajjal dan One World adalah nama airline alliance atau rangkaian syarikat2 penerbangan. pic.twitter.com/GMnImsbuWf— Khairy Jamaluddin 🇲🇾🌺 (@Khairykj) February 21, 2021
As the minister pointed out, OneWorld is in fact a global airlines alliance that currently consists of 13 carriers including American Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines – which has actually been a full member of OneWorld since 2013.
This alliance usually means that different airlines can codeshare on a flight and even share member benefits like lounge access and rewards points. For example: if you book a flight on Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to Lisbon, Portugal, you might find yourself boarding a plane operated by a different airline.
While it’s easy for some to laugh at the anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, these messages spread across social media and messaging platforms do create doubt on the safety and importance of the vaccines.
As such, Khairy put out a call encouraging Malaysians to spread verified information on vaccines in order to dispel such unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.
We may laugh at the anti-vax group here but they are loud on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp. I hope that the rakyat who are confident in science will also help spread authentic information together with the government – especially in family and residential group chats.Khairy Jamaluddin, Science, Technology & Innovation Minister.
Vaccination & Religion
Federal Territory Mufti Dr Luqman Abdullah had previously told Bernama that vaccination is ‘harus’ (permissible) in Islam. He explained that because Covid-19 is a pandemic that is endangering the lives of other Muslims, precautionary measures should be taken to prevent it from spreading.
The vaccination is ‘harus’ (in Islam), but it should be encouraged on the advice of the Ministry of Health that it is necessary to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.Dr Luqman Abdullah, Federal Territory Mufti via Bernama
The leaders from several religions in Malaysia also agree that being vaccinated is important in keeping people safe and preventing the spread of diseases and epidemics, such as Covid-19.
She puts the pun in Punjabi. With a background in healthcare, lifestyle writing and memes, this lady's articles walk a fine line between pun-dai and pun-ishing.