City councillor claims substandard food served at Penang quarantine centres

A vegetarian meal served at a quarantine centre in Penang. — Picture courtesy of Nicholas Theng Jie Wey
A vegetarian meal served at a quarantine centre in Penang. — Picture courtesy of Nicholas Theng Jie Wey

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 31 — A Penang Island City councillor, Nicholas Theng Jie Wey, is crying foul over the purportedly substandard food being served to those in Covid-19 quarantine centres in Penang.

The DAP councillor, who furnished pictures of the food, claimed the meals served daily were “appalling” and “borderline atrocious” despite those in quarantine having to pay RM150 daily.

“Each person in quarantine is served three meals a day, with a combination of one soup, one type of vegetable, one type of meat, one fruit and white rice. However, it is clearly shown that the meat is naught but bone!” he said in a statement issued today.

He said pictures sent by a friend who is currently in quarantine at one of the quarantine centres showed that fish curry was served with only the fish head and some bones while chicken curry comprised tiny slivers of meat.

“To make things worse, vegetarians are served just spring rolls, vegetable soup and white rice for some meals,” he said.

Theng said these meals do not even meet minimum nutritional values and are unacceptable since those under quarantine had to bear half the cost of quarantine which totalled RM2,100 each.

“That is equivalent to RM150 a day, more than enough to cover the costs of a proper meal,” he said.

Nicholas Theng claimed food served at a quarantine centre in Penang was substandard. — Picture courtesy of Nicholas Theng Jie Wey
Nicholas Theng claimed food served at a quarantine centre in Penang was substandard. — Picture courtesy of Nicholas Theng Jie Wey

Additionally, he said if the federal government is subsidising the remaining RM150 daily, this brings the total cost to RM300 per day.

“If that is the case, how can the people be forced to stomach such poor meals?” he asked.

He said those under quarantine had no other option but to consume what is served to them and claimed food served in quarantine centres in Kuala Lumpur were of better quality than in Penang.

“Is the Perikatan Nasional government trying to bully the people of Penang because we are an Opposition state?” he asked.

He said Penangites under quarantine had to pay the same rate as those in other states and yet they are getting a lower standard of treatment and food.

Theng called on the Health Ministry to look into this complaint and take immediate action.

“The PN government must be fair to all states regardless of whether they are Opposition or not,” he said.

He reminded the government that the people under quarantine are not foreigners but Malaysians who only wished to return to their country to see their loved ones.

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