IGP: We will call in witnesses on minister’s Covid-19 quarantine breach

IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador speaks to reporters after a police conference in George Town August 26, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
IGP Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador speaks to reporters after a police conference in George Town August 26, 2020. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Aug 26 — The police will be calling in witnesses to record their statements over Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali’s Covid-19 quarantine breach, Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said.

The inspector-general of police said witnesses in the know about the offence will be called in for the investigation over the following days.

“We will conduct a professional and transparent investigation into this,” he told reporters after a police conference at a hotel here.

Abdul Hamid was responding to questions about the investigation into the minister for failing to perform the 14-day quarantine upon his return from Turkey last month.

However, the IGP declined to say when the probe will be completed, saying his officers needed adequate time to fully investigate the matter.

On August 18, 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.

The minister was initially silent about the allegation but later defended himself by saying he was tested thrice for Covid-19 since his return and all were negative.

Khairuddin was subsequently issued an RM1,000 compound for the offence, which the Health Ministry said was issued on August 7.

The minister also said he would donate his salary since May to the government’s Covid-19 fund but this did not appease Malaysians upset by the quantum of his fine, which was less than those previously issued to quarantine breakers.

After this led to allegations that ministers were above the law, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Khairuddin’s alleged offence would be investigated, resulting in the current police case.

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 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.

* In an earlier version of this story, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador’s statement was misinterpreted. We apologise to Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador for any inconvenience this may have caused him. 

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