Covid-19 SOP breaches: After uproar over Neelofa and husband, what happened to other high profile cases?

Thasha Jayamanogaran
·5-min read
The newlyweds are in the spotlight after photos of alleged SOP breaches at their wedding went viral. — Picture via Instagram/neelofa
The newlyweds are in the spotlight after photos of alleged SOP breaches at their wedding went viral. — Picture via Instagram/neelofa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 ― While celebrity Neelofa and her husband’s recent trip to Langkawi ― which she said was a work-related one allegedly confirmed a month ago ― caused a stir on the Internet (as an out-of-state travel ban is still in force for both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor), they were not the only “famous” personalities who have been chastised for breaking Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

What seemed to have riled people up was the fact that pictures of Neelofa’s wedding (barely 24 hours before her Langkawi trip) seemed to show breaches of SOPs as well.

Pictures widely shared on social media showed guests, which also include minister in charge of religious affairs Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad, standing and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in breach of the one-metre minimum physical distancing rules. Also many were also seen not wearing masks during photo sessions.

The Dang Wangi police on Monday said investigations were nearly completed but what of the other high-profile cases involving non-compliance of Covid-19 SOPs?

On August 18 last year, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said Khairuddin (pic) skipped quarantine after returning from Turkey on July 7. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
On August 18 last year, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said Khairuddin (pic) skipped quarantine after returning from Turkey on July 7. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Here’s a quick recap of some of them:

1. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali

On August 18 last year, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said Khairuddin skipped quarantine after returning from Turkey on July 7. He turned up in Parliament on July 13.

Two days later, on August 20, Khairuddin said he had been tested for Covid-19 thrice after returning but did not address the alleged quarantine violation, asking people to wait for an official statement from the Health Ministry.

An hour later, Khairuddin in a separate statement apologised and announced he would be donating his May to August salary to charity as an act of atonement.

However, calls for Khairuddin to be prosecuted amid complaints of double standards continued.

On August 2, 2020, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister paid the RM1,000 fine for failing to adhere to the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).

The Health Ministry confirmed that the compound was paid.

2. Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was caught on video not using his MySejahtera app before entering a restaurant for lunch with his “entourage” on March 19, 2021.

In a bizarre twist, he has urged the authorities to issue him with a compound because he does not believe in “double standards.”

Dang Wangi police chief Mohamad Zainal Abdullah said Najib would be called up to have his statement recorded and the investigation paper handed over to the public prosecutor’s office as soon as the investigation was completed.

However, it remains unclear if he was issued with a compound and paid the fine.

In January, Annuar was rapped by social media users after he posted a photograph of him taking a walk with a group during the movement control order (MCO) which only allowed people to go walking with members of their own family. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
In January, Annuar was rapped by social media users after he posted a photograph of him taking a walk with a group during the movement control order (MCO) which only allowed people to go walking with members of their own family. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

3. Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa

On February 13, 2021, a photo surfaced showing Annuar seated at a table with six other people during an event in Cheras that took place on the same day, despite SOPs in the capital only allowing a maximum of two per table at that time.

A day after the event, organisers Kelab Pencinta Alam Kolam Takungan Banjir Sungai Midah apologised for the incident, saying it took place when Annuar was invited for a drink at a communal hut after visiting a community project there.

On February 17, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said that investigation papers into Annuar’s case need to be referred to the Attorney General’s chambers first before the federal territories minister is issued with a summons or for it to be compounded.

On March 23, an aide to Annuar Musa said the federal territories minister has already paid the fine for flouting the SOP. This was also confirmed by the city police.

Prior to this incident, in January, Annuar was rapped by social media users after he posted a photograph of him taking a walk with a group during the movement control order (MCO) which only allowed people to go walking with members of their own family.

Annuar, however, denied flouting SOPs and said the three had walked alone before running into each other by chance. No action was taken in this case though.

4. Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak executive council member Razman Zakaria

On April 28, 2020, Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak executive council member Razman Zakaria pleaded guilty to a charge of violating the MCO in Perak.

They were among 15 people who pleaded guilty at the Gerik Magistrate's Court this morning for the same offence and were fined RM1,000 each, with one-month's jail in default.

All paid the fine.

Many had called for the duo to be investigated for breaching MCO SOPs after Noor Azmi posted a series of photographs online of him and his entourage visiting a religious school in Lenggong on April 17.

Noor Azmi and Razman were seen having a meal with about 18 other people without practising social distancing. The posts were later deleted and they have since apologised.

5. Ministers, government officials & VIPs breach SOP by attending wedding

On March 14, 2021 Jelebu MP Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias’ daughter Noor Syahira had a wedding reception in Seremban, Negri Sembilan.

Among those who attended the wedding were Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad.

Sepang district police chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Kamarul Azran Wan Yusof has since confirmed that an investigation is currently being conducted.

Investigations started after Muda co-founder Mutalib Uthman lodged a police report. It is unclear what the status of the case is now, as police have yet to update the media.

6. Deputy Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin

Though there were no official police reports lodged against Zahidi, he is famously known for not wearing his masks properly during big events or when speaking to members of the media.

He was often rapped on social media with viral pictures showing him wearing a mask below his chin while talking to individuals in close proximity during events.

Zahidi has often been called upon to set an example for the public. On January 13, 2021 he tested positive for Covid 19.

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