Malaysians abroad cannot be prevented from returning, says Ismail Sabri

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a press conference in Putrajaya June 9, 2020. — Bernama pic
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at a press conference in Putrajaya June 9, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The government cannot prevent Malaysians intending to return home from countries that have recorded new strains of Covid-19, says Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysians living in countries that had a high number of Covid-19 cases had the right to return home.

“This is the guarantee given in the Constitution and the Immigration Act also states that the government cannot prevent our people from returning home,” he said in his daily press conference here today.

He said this when asked to comment on the proposal for the government to restrict the entry of travellers — including Malaysians — from countries that had recorded new strains of Covid-19 such as the United Kingdom, South Africa and Hong Kong.

He said, however, Malaysians returning from such countries would have to undergo quarantine and follow strict standard operating procedures (SOP).

On restricting the entry of tourists from the said countries, he said the country’s borders had yet to be opened to foreign tourists.

In September, the government stopped allowing long-term visit pass holders from 23 countries that had recorded more than 150,000 positive Covid-19 cases from entering Malaysia, and the list includes South Africa and the United Kingdom.

In another development, Ismail Sabri said the government would impose stricter SOPs for areas under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) and recovery movement control order (RMCO) if it received advice from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

He said the government hoped that the people would be more responsible by complying with the set SOPs to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

“If the people fail to comply and the MOH feels the need to return the original SOP (as set during the first MCO) which is much tighter, I do not rule it out being implemented,” he said. — Bernama

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