KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 ― Malaysians have dug up Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali’s criticism of the quarantine break behind the Sivangga Covid-19 cluster in Kedah to denounce the minister who did not self-isolate after returning from Turkey last month.
An August 4 post the plantation industries and commodities minister shared on Facebook warned that just a single person disobeying the standard operating procedures for Covid-19 containment could put all of Malaysia at risk.
“It starts with one, two and now it has reached over 20 people, enough to shock the country,” the post said.
“What is the cause? Failure to obey SOP.
“I repeat. Failure to observe SOP.”
The person behind the Sivangangga cluster has since been sentenced to five months’ imprisonment and fined RM12,000. He has also been sued for over RM1 million by residents and businesses in Kedah.
On Tuesday, Khairuddin’s predecessor, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, pointed out that the minister was already back in Parliament on July 13 despite only returning to Malaysia six days prior.
A source close to Khairuddin confirmed the minister’s trip but insisted that he tested negative for Covid-19 upon his return and argued that Turkey was a “green zone” country at the time.
At the start of Khairuddin’s visit on July 3, Turkey already had over 203,000 cases. This rose to nearly 208,000 on July 7 when he departed for Malaysia.
Yesterday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the minister should have been quarantined as it was compulsory to do so and that an investigation will be made into why this did not happen.
Under the National Security Council’s SOP, all returnees are tested on arrival and those with negative results must then serve out their 14-day quarantine while those testing positive are sent to a hospital for further treatment.
They are tested again on the 13th day of their quarantine and are only released upon a negative Covid-19 result.
A breach of this order is punishable under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 by up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both upon conviction.