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Outrage over M’sian minister breaking quarantine rule after trip

This article is more than 12 months old

PETALING JAYA: The past has come back to haunt a Malaysian Cabinet minister after an earlier post he shared criticising a quarantine breaker re-emerged.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali is himself in trouble for not complying with the 14-day quarantine rule after returning from Turkey.

On Aug 4, Mr Khairuddin criticised the index case of the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah for failing to comply with Covid-19 home quarantine rules after returning from India.

"It started with one person, two people, then now it has increased to more than 20 people, that is enough to shock the nation. What is the cause? The failure to comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP). Again," the minister had said on his Facebook post.

On Tuesday, opposition MP Teresa Kok claimed in Parliament that Mr Khairuddin had visited Turkey in an unofficial capacity until July 7 but did not undergo the 14-day quarantine after returning to Malaysia.

Ms Kok claimed that Mr Khairuddin had then attended Parliament a week later.

A source close to Mr Khairuddin told The Straits Times that the minister had undergone a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 7. The result was negative.

"He had also undergone a second test, three days before the July 13 parliamentary session, which was negative," said the source.

Malaysians expressed outrage on social media.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said on Twitter: "Following this incident, those who are wearing pink wristbands can use the excuse when returning from overseas to not quarantine themselves: 'The Minister can do it, so why can't I? I am negative!'"

Malaysians returning from abroad who have been screened for Covid-19 must wear a pink wristband throughout their home quarantine period.

Malaysia yesterday reported five new cases, all of which were imported. The death toll remains at 125.

Meanwhile, the Philippines yesterday reported 4,339 cases and 88 deaths. Total cases stand at 178,022, while deaths have reached 2,883.

Indonesia reported 2,266 cases yesterday, bringing the total to 147,211. There were 72 deaths, taking total fatalities to 6,418. - THE STAR, REUTERS