Malaysian MPs cry foul over ‘double standards’ in COVID-19 quarantine for ministers

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian lawmakers from throughout the political divide have spoken out in opposition to a choice to permit Cabinet ministers getting back from official abroad visits to endure a three-day remark interval as a substitute of the usual 10 days. 

They have been referring to a federal gazette signed by Health Minister Adham Baba, which said that Cabinet ministers who return from such visits “shall undergo observation for three days or undergo surveillance until they can be discharged without posing a danger to the public”.

The exemption might be in place from Feb 9 till Aug 1, all through the period of Malaysia’s state of emergency

It excuses ministers from the protocol that every one Malaysians getting back from abroad should endure a 10-day necessary quarantine upon arrival.

In a Facebook put up on Tuesday (Feb 9), former prime minister and United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) MP Najib Razak highlighted {that a} three-day quarantine for ministers getting back from abroad is “dangerous” as a result of the common incubation interval for COVID-19 is 5 to 6 days. 

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur

FILE PHOTO: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 3, 2019. REUTERS/ Lim Huey Teng

“There is a danger that those infected will be released too early and infect many more people after mistakenly thinking they are COVID-free,” stated Najib. 

He cited how a brief quarantine for politicians getting back from the Sabah state election in 2020 didn’t cease the unfold of COVID-19 from the Borneo state to the peninsula.

The MP for Pekan additionally warned that it might be “even more dangerous” if the an infection is from overseas due to the upper chance of contracting the United Kingdom or South Africa COVID-19 variants, that are extra infectious. 

“At a time when the number of active cases has reached 51,000 … our health system is unlikely to survive if the contagious UK mutation with a rate of 70 per cent spreads to our country,” stated Najib. 

READ: Malaysia eases COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese New Year reunion dinner, days after announcing new curbs

Criticising the exemption, Mr Lim Guan Eng, who’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general, stated that by permitting ministers “special privileges not granted to the general public”, the Perikatan Nasional authorities has “proven that it is not interested” in complying with the usual working procedures (SOPs) to fight COVID-19. 

Malaysia's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during an interview with Reuters in Putrajaya

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s then-finance minister Lim Guan Eng speaks throughout an interview with Reuters in Putrajaya, Malaysia, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

“Such double standards and lackadaisical attitude could have contributed partly to the recent surge in COVID-19 infections to 245,552 cases as of Feb 8, 2021, of which 51,977 are active, and 896 deaths, making Malaysia the (worst-hit country) in ASEAN in per capita terms,” Mr Lim stated in a press release. 

He additionally famous how politicians in the federal government have beforehand been caught not adhering to SOPs, citing how ministers have been seen not carrying masks in public occasions. 

Mr Lim additionally famous how Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali was fined “only RM1,000” after failing to watch quarantine SOPs when he returned to Malaysia after a visit to Turkey in August 2020. 

“In contrast, a 72-year-old Malay lady was charged in court, fined RM8,000 and a day’s jail for a similar offence,” stated Mr Lim, who can also be MP for Bagan.


Opposition MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, who’s former well being minister, stated the gazetted order to shorten the quarantine interval from 10 days to a few meant the Cabinet ministers are exposing others to the chance of getting contaminated. 

“Unless ministers are all vaccinated (of whom none is), they actually risk the lives of others with the seven days of freedom,” the Kuala Selangor MP was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini . 

(kd) Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is the Strategic Director for Parti Amanah Negara. (File photograph: Bernama)

“Especially since the majority of them are part of the high-risk group (above 60 years old) and some have medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. They are also endangering their own health,” added Dr Dzulkefly, who’s technique director for Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and a toxicologist. 

He added that the exemption symbolises the “abuse of power” the opposition feared would come about with the proclamation of the state of emergency. 

READ: Active COVID-19 cases in Malaysia surpass 50,000 mark

In his assertion, Dr Dzulkefly additionally urged the well being ministry to stipulate the factors for the exemptions. 

As of Monday, Malaysia has reported a complete of 245,552 COVID-19 circumstances, of which 51,977 are lively circumstances. 

(ks) Muhyiddin and Jokowi statements

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo (proper) at Jakarta’s Merdeka Palace on Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Lukas) 

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has simply returned from his first official abroad journey to Indonesia final Friday, whereas Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is on a working go to to Abu Dhabi. 

DAP’s stalwart Mr Lim Kit Siang known as for Mr Muhyiddin to retract the exemption order to uphold his promise that there can be no “double standards” in complying with COVID-19 quarantine SOPs. 

The MP for Iskandar Puteri cited Mr Muhyiddin’s televised handle in October final yr when the prime minister confused that he, as prime minister, was not exempted from quarantine protocols. 

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