Rescind Covid-19 Quarantine Exemption for Ministers, PM Told

The DAP leader repeatedly reminded Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of the latter’s own pledges, quoting those made across the prime minister’s many special addresses since the start of the pandemic. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The prime minister should override his health minister’s gazetted order that excused ministers from serving the mandatory 10-day Covid-19 quarantine upon returning from official visits abroad, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said today.

The Iskandar Puteri said the order allowing ministers to be placed under just three days’ observation went against the spirit of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s vow that Covid-19 regulations would be applied to all regardless of station.

“In October last year, Muhyiddin pledged in a special address to the nation over television on the latest Covid-19 situation in the country that there would be no practice of double standards in complying with Covid-19 quarantine orders.

“The prime minister said he himself and his ministers were not exempted from adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Health Ministry in this matter,” Lim said in a statement today.

Lim reminded Muhyidin that what is currently at stake is not the credibility of Dr Adham, whom he accused of having none despite being a qualified physician, but that of the prime minister personally.

The DAP leader repeatedly reminded Muhyiddin of the latter’s own pledges, quoting those made across the prime minister’s many special addresses since the start of the pandemic.

“In one of his telecasts to the nation last October, Muhyiddin said: If anyone breaks the law, compounds and other punishments will be imposed, regardless of one’s rank or position. I’m sorry if ‘Abah’ starts using the ‘rotan’. Is he going to start using the ‘rotan’ against his own health minister?

“Muhyiddin should also be mindful of the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law for all Malaysians as entrenched in Article 8 of the Malaysian Constitution,” Lim added.

He said that while the government’s priority should be to restore public trust, confidence and support for the national strategy in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, moves such as the discriminatory order only undermined such efforts.

In the gazetted order that Dr Adham issued using his authority as the health minister, Cabinet members returning from official visits abroad are exempted from Section 15 the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

Section 15 of Act 342 pertains to observation or surveillance of contacts and that an authorised officer may order any contact to undergo observation in such place and for such period as he may think fit, or to undergo surveillance until he may be discharged without danger to the public.

The health minister is empowered under Section 29 of Act 342 to exempt any person, article, vehicle, human remains or tissues, animals and any pathogenic substances from the operation of any of the Act’s provisions or any regulations made under the Act.

Currently, Malaysian returnees must undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine at home even if they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival.


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