KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said today she was informed that Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali was accompanied by his family and unnamed officials when he visited Turkey last month.
Kok, who exposed the plantation industries and commodities minister’s apparent failure to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon his return, then asked if those who went with him were also exempted from the self-isolation order imposed on returnees.
“I understand that the minister's visit to Turkey was also accompanied by family members and government officials.
“Are they undergoing the 14-day home quarantine according to government SOP?” she asked in a statement today.
Today, Kok said the minister’s social media entries showed that he had kept a busy schedule during what should have been his quarantine period.
The former minister said this meant Khairuddin would have come into contact with a significant number of Malaysians at the events he attended, creating the possible risk of a new wave of infections.
Kok said based on the Khairuddin's Facebook entries, the minister started attending official functions as early as three days after he returned from Turkey.
“There is a possibility that thousands of people who had met him are now at risk of Covid-19 and there is a chance for a ‘Khairuddin Takiri’ cluster,” she said.
She said that since she highlighted the issue in Parliament this week, Mohd Khairuddin has remained silent and merely said people should wait for the Health Ministry's statement.
However, she stressed that his failure to perform the legally-mandated quarantine was clear.
“Based on the SOP's announced by the National Security Council, he should have been under home quarantine for 14 days upon his return which is from July 7 to July 21 to ensure he is not infected with Covid-19 and does not spread the virus to others,” she said.
Kok said that since the public was already frustrated with the strictness authorities have shown towards ordinary Malaysians caught violating the SOP, the government must avoid any appearance of preferential treatment in dealing with actions that create the risk of Covid-19 infections.
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.
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.
A source close to the minister previously claimed Khairuddin went to Turkey with the prime minister’s approval and that the country had been in the “green zone” at the time.