Senior minister: Frontliners at detention centres in Malaysia clear of Covid-19, no replacements necessary

R. Loheswar

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya May 23, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob assured Malaysians that the prison system is not inundated with cases of Covid-19.

Malaysia’s prisons consist of 20 per cent foreigners and lately, they are the ones most prone to contract Covid-19 due to their living conditions as they stay in close proximity to each other.

A new Covid-19 cluster was detected at the Bukit Jalil and Semenyih detention centres two days ago. The government has already taken steps to ensure those with the virus are isolated and treated while the rest are being monitored closely.

“Till today we have no reports of anyone in the prisons contracting Covid-19,” Ismail said today during his daily Covid-19 briefing.

“Even though the majority of them are foreigners they may have been imprisoned much earlier so this issue did not arise.”

A total of 60 cases have been identified from the two detention centres. The infected are from countries like Egypt, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia and yesterday 25 cases were Pakistanis.

The Immigration Department had also deployed staff from its headquarters and states to take over the management of the Covid-19 hit Bukit Jalil detention depot.

Its director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud said, currently, its management was being assisted by officers from Kuala Lumpur and Rela members for guard duty.

Ismail was asked who would replace the 114 staff working at Bukit Jalil while they underwent quarantine or screening to which he said no one needed replacing as they were all tested and there’s no positive cases thus far.

“Regarding the people on duty at the depots, till today we have done tests in Bukit Jalil and all 114 staff are negative.

“Screenings were also done in Semenyih so there are no issues, no one needed to be sent to the hospital and as such none of the staff handling these depots need replacing,” said Ismail.

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