KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Universiti Malaya asserted today that student volunteers who reportedly complained they were put in close contact with Chinese nationals did so of their own accord.
The university also maintained that it fully abided by the government’s protocol for centralised surveillance of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which it implemented for the new intake as well as those from China.
Under these measures, affected students were restricted to the university’s 10th residential college (KK10) for a period of 14 days in order to facilitate close monitoring.
UM further stressed that only students in apparent good health and free of Covid-19 symptoms were placed there, which negated any need to quarantine them.
Touching on the issue of the volunteers, UM said the group were at the KK10 to cater to a different programme.
“However, when the university decided to implement the centralised surveillance procedure, they voluntarily offered to help on humanitarian grounds.
“The volunteer students were tasked with facilitating registrations and entrance inspections, which include the handing over of room keys to students who have gone through the centralised surveillance procedure,” UM said in a statement.
UM also denied that the group was ever forced to perform health checks on any students, adding that UM staff were gradually taking over these duties.
The university went on to commend the volunteers for their initiative and feedback on improving the procedure.
Earlier today, a news outlet reported a representative of the student volunteers as alleging that they were made to attend the students from China based in the residential college.
The person said the volunteers were made to conduct thermal scans on the students, and argued that this should have been done by the university’s staff instead.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said this afternoon that the government was unaware of the alleged arrangement, but stressed that students and volunteers must not be put at risk.
She added that the Education Ministry was investigating the matter.