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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — DAP’s Lim Guan Eng today labelled the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government a disgraceful administration of double standards with ministers displaying the worst examples, following a gazetted order that excused them from serving the mandatory 10-day Covid-19 quarantine upon returning from official visits abroad.
Pointing out the lack of accountability, Lim said the government could no longer be questioned as to the reason why ministers needed to be quarantined a mere three days instead of 10 days on their return from official overseas trips following the suspension of Parliament under the Emergency Proclamation.
“Clearly the suspension of Parliament has nothing to do with reducing the number of Covid-19 infections, but a dishonest pretext by the PN government to pass laws and regulations by fiat at their personal whim and fancy.
“By allowing ministers special privileges not granted to the people, the PN government has proven that it is not interested in complying with the Standard Operating Procedures to combat Covid-19,” he said in a statement here.
Lim’s remark comes after the gazettement of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Exemption) Order 2021 takes effect from today onwards until August 1 which spans the entirety of the state of emergency.
The gazette was signed by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
Lim also claimed that such double-standards and lackadaisical attitude could have contributed partly to the recent surge in Covid-19 infections here, making Malaysia the worst in Asean in per capita terms at 245,552 cases as of today recorded so far.
He said the latest exemption order was reminiscent of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Khairuddin Aman Razali who came under fire when it was revealed that he failed to observe the mandatory home quarantine as required at the time after returning from overseas.
Khairuddin was fined RM1,000 for the offence but was not prosecuted on grounds of insufficient evidence.
“With such special privileges, no wonder the present government leaders are clinging on to their posts by hook or by crook, despite the loss of their parliamentary majority,” he added.
In the gazetted order that Dr Adham issued using his authority as the health minister, Cabinet members returning from official visits abroad are exempted from Section 15 the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.
Section 15 of Act 342 pertains to observation or surveillance of contacts and that an authorised officer may order any contact to undergo observation in such place and for such period as he may think fit, or to undergo surveillance until he may be discharged without danger to the public.
The health minister is empowered under Section 29 of Act 342 to exempt any person, article, vehicle, human remains or tissues, animals and any pathogenic substances from the operation of any of the Act’s provisions or any regulations made under the Act.
Currently, Malaysian returnees must undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine at home even if they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival.