Ismail Sabri: Spouses on PR status refusing to pay for quarantine lodging will have privileges revoked

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 24, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya April 24, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Permanent residents or foreigners on social visit passes in the country will have their immigration privileges revoked if they refuse to pay for their accommodation during quarantine, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

Putrajaya has made it compulsory for foreigners returning from abroad to pay for their own lodging during isolation for Covid-19 testing. But some have been unwilling to do so, according to the senior minister.

The policy also applies to spouses with PR status. Ismail said the government will bear the hotel cost for Malaysian nationals only, and not for any family members who are not.

“For spouses with PR status or on long social visit passes who just returned from overseas, they must bear the hotel cost themselves,” he said at the NSC’s daily briefing on the national Covid-19 situation.

“But some among them have refused to... so we deliberated this morning and have decided that any errant PR or social visit pass holders who are adamant not to pay, the Immigration Department can now act against them.

“This includes revoking their immigration privileges,” he said.

But the minister assured that penalties will not go to the extent of cancelling their PR or social pass statuses.

Instead the Immigration Department may employ other methods, like compelling them to renew their visas within shorter periods.

“For example, if previously they can renew their passes in two or three years. Now they will have to do it within just three months,” Ismail said.

“So all privileges accorded to them by the Immigration Department will be revoked until they pay all arrears in costs.”

The government enforced a compulsory two-week quarantine for all persons entering the country starting March just before the local Covid-19 outbreak exploded, as part of efforts to tighten border security and contain the deadly coronavirus.

Those isolated were placed in hotels gazetted as quarantine centres and were initially asked to pay a fixed rate of RM150.

The government backpedalled after there was public backlash over the fees.

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