PAS minister Khairuddin slapped with RM1,000 fine for violating Covid-19 SOP

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali speaks to reporters during a press conference in Parliament on August 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali speaks to reporters during a press conference in Parliament on August 5, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today said that it had issued plantation industries and commodities minister, Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, with a RM1,000 compound for failing to self-quarantine for 14 days, as per the ministry’s standard operating procedure.

In a statement today, the ministry said that the PAS leader has already paid the fine.

“As Datuk Khairuddin failed to abide by the rules under Act 342, an enforcement officer (PDK) issued a RM1,000 compound to him on August 7, and he has already paid the said compound,” the statement read, referring to the provision under the  Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulation 2020.

 “Datuk Khairuddin returned from Turkey on July 7, 2020. The first nasopharyngeal swab was taken on the same day and it was found to be negative. The second and third Covid-19 screening also returned negative,” the statement further read.

Earlier today, deputy health minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, who was himself fined previously for violating the then movement control order (MCO), has called on the government to ensure equal application of the law on all violators.

In April, the trained medical doctor, together with Perak executive councillor (exco) Razman Zakaria and 13 other individuals were fined RM1,000 each by the Magistrate’s Court, for defying the MCO by attending a lunch gathering in Lenggong on April 17.

“In this issue, there is no ‘dua darjat’, where there cannot be a situation in which the elites get away, while the ones below are penalised. There cannot be a situation where the elites are not detained while those below are handcuffed. That won’t do,” Sinar Harian reported him as saying.

Dr Noor Azmi also pointed out cases where those who had tested negative for Covid-19 upon returning from abroad later tested positive and died as it was too late for treatment.

While not explicitly naming anyone, Dr Noor Azmi’s remarks came on the heels of intense scrutiny and public uproar, following an Opposition member’s revelation that Khairuddin did not observe his 14-day self isolation, upon returning from Turkey.

In his own defence, Khairuddin said yesterday he has been tested three times for Covid-19 since his controversial trip to Turkey last month — and the results have all come back negative.

The Kuala Nerus MP claimed that the first two tests were carried out upon his return to Malaysia on July 7, and then 13 days later, returned negative.

He took the third test recently, ahead of an event at Istana Negara on August 17.

The PAS MP was quoted as saying that the fact he was allowed into Istana Negara proved that he had tested negative for Covid-19, adding that he would have been denied entry otherwise.

On Tuesday, his predecessor, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, pointed out that the minister had visited Turkey between July 3 and 7, but was already back in Parliament on July 13.

The following day, 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 conducted to find out why this did not happen.

Under the National Security Council’s (NSC) SOP, all returnees are tested on arrival and those with negative results must then serve out their 14-day quarantine, while those who test 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.

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