Senior minister: Malaysians returning home from abroad to foot half of hotel quarantine bill

A general view of hotels lining Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A general view of hotels lining Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Begining June 1, Malaysians returning home from overseas will have to bear 50 per cent cost of hotel accommodation during their mandatory Covid-19 quarantine. 

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said that non-Malaysians will have to pay 100 per cent of hotel accommodation when they are quarantined upon arrival in the country,  

“Previously, the accommodation costs were borne by the government. 

“Now, Malaysians who return to the country will bear half of the full amount and for non-Malaysians, permanent resident status and others, they will have to pay full amount,” he said during the non-health daily briefing today. 

Earlier in March, 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.

This amount was since paid in full by the government for a duration of 14 days for Malaysians, while non-Malaysians had to pay for the full cost of accommodation at quarantine centres.

On a related matter, Ismail Sabri said the National Security Council had also decided that those who wish to return from abroad will now have to get a release letter from the Malaysian Embassy in respective countries.

“Those who wish to return to Malaysia will have to obtain a release letter from the Malaysian Embassy in respective countries before they are allowed to come back.

“This release letter will be a condition of their return and will include the agreement to pay for charges applied at quarantine centres (hotel accommodations),” he said.

Respective airline companies have also been informed to check for the release letter before allowing a passenger’s return.

“This will also address the problem we had with those whose spouses are non-Malaysians and had previously refused to pay for quarantine centre charges.

“So in the release letter they will have to agree to pay for the accommodation before they are allowed to return to Malaysia,” he added.  

On May 14, Ismail Sabri said 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.

This was based on Putrajaya’s earlier decision to make it compulsory for foreigners returning from abroad to pay for their own lodging during isolation for Covid-19 testing. However, 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.

Related Articles