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KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has accused the media of misinterpreting the words of the Health Director-General, after the latter said disinfection operations being around the country did not follow his ministry’s guidelines.
Zuraida claimed that Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, during a press conference yesterday, was commenting on the lack of social distancing practiced during the disinfection operations, and not on the actual procedures of sanitising exercise itself.
“This has been slightly manipulated by the media.
“Because Datuk Dr Noor Hisham was referring to the standard operating procedures (SOP) concerning crowd control, not on the SOPs of the disinfection exercise, it wasn’t,” she said at the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) headquarters in Putrajaya this evening.
The minister was attending a function there that saw one million rubber gloves donated to Bomba by the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, meant for the frontlines during the fight to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
A recording of her comments from the event was made available to Malay Mail.
Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham had said the recent disinfection operations carried out by the local authorities such as the Kuala Lumpur City Council, district councils and also Zuraida’s ministry, were done before the Health Ministry could provide proper guidelines.
Zuraida today also dismissed notions that a communication breakdown had occurred between ministries following the differing opinions, adding that daily meetings between the government ministries gave them ample chance to communicate with one another.
“So there is no issue from the aspect of communication. So there has been misinterpretation and miscommunication by the media.
“Don’t always look to take small matters and misinterpret them, which would later make the people feel uneasy; don’t do that,” she said.
On Monday, Zuraida, who wore a PPE suit, along with her ministry’s personnel, had received criticism after carrying out a public disinfection operation themselves at a wet market in Jalan Othman here.
Those unhappy with her conduct were quick to comment on how the operation was carried out by a minister untrained in the procedure, in addition to the way chemical-laced water was used to disinfect roads and curbs rather than surfaces that come into direct contact with humans.
She later defended the actions of local council workers in spraying disinfection on roads, saying it is better to be cautious.
In a Skype interview with Al-Hijrah last night, Zuraida said that the action was necessary as a heightened precaution in the fight to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.