Khairy: Ministers returning from overseas subjected to same quarantine rule as everyone, no special exemption given

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya December 25, 2021. — Bernama pic
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya December 25, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — Cabinet members ordered to return home from overseas will be subjected to the same quarantine regulations and there will be no special exemptions made, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin affirmed today.

Khairy said in this response to a question on whether ministers overseas will be given special exemptions to existing quarantine regulations in place.

“At this moment, they must undergo their respective quarantines even though they have been recalled home, but it is very, very important for us to be vigilant and cautious.

“So that matter (quarantine) still applies,” he told a press conference here.

This follows after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday all ministers currently abroad have been ordered to return home immediately to assist in ongoing efforts to mitigate flood woes currently plaguing the country.

“I have been deluged with questions about our Cabinet ministers. So, if they are on leave and planning to go on holiday, I want them to cancel that plan.

“If they are currently abroad, return immediately!” Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying.

In a separate matter, Khairy said the ministry was currently investigating Hulu Langat MP Datuk Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus for alleged breach of quarantine protocol after the latter was seen visiting his flood-hit constituency days after returning from an overseas trip.

Khairy however said if it were true that Hasanuddin had violated his seven-day Home Surveillance Order (HSO), then the ministry could only fine him RM1,000.

According to Khairy, Hasanuddin returned to Malaysia on December 22 and was given a seven-day HSO by the Health Ministry, but was seen visiting his constituents on December 24.

“We are trying to find out what happened in his case. He applied for quarantine exemption for a trip between December 8 and December 12. That exemption was approved because of the test and release protocol that we have for official travel.

“He had gone for an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Istanbul, Turkey with three other elected representatives,” Khairy said.

On December 20, Khairy said Hasanuddin was given a seven-day HSO by the Health Ministry’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) that was communicated through email.

“We are now investigating the case and finding out if he went onwards from Turkey to Iran, Pakistan and wherever else and also why he broke his quarantine upon receiving the HSO on December 20," Khairy added.

Hasanuddin was criticised on social media after he shared a picture of his mountain trip in Iran on his Facebook account while floods ravaged his constituency earlier this week.

The picture has since been taken down and replaced with pictures of Hasanuddin meeting dignitaries in Iran.

Hasanuddin sought to explain that his working trip was planned earlier and he had been trying to get on a flight to come home after many parts of his constituency were inundated in what was considered one of the worst flooding in Selangor’s history.

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