PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Malaysian Cabinet minister who raised public anger for failing to observe a 14-day quarantine order as mandated by the government after returning from Turkey last month, has remained defiant about his behaviour.
Plantation Industries and Commodity Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said he was allowed into the Palace on Aug 17, proving he had tested negative for Covid-19.
He said he would have been denied entry had he tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
"It is mandatory to take a swab test before being allowed to enter the Palace," he said.
He said this in response to the uproar over his alleged failure to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
He went on an unofficial trip to Turkey for a few days and returned on July 7.
But instead of being made to put on a pink wristband like others, and then placed under quarantine until July 20 - either in a hotel room or at home - the minister on his social media accounts showed him meeting other people.
Datuk Mohd Khairuddin said he had taken the Covid-19 test three times - upon returning from Turkey on July 7, another one 13 days later as mandated, and recently prior to attending an event at the Palace.
Malaysians on social media and politicians criticised him for flouting the mandatory quarantine order.
Malaysians also took to social media to ask why he was not wearing a pink wristband, as was mandatory for those returning from abroad to wear for two weeks.
One M.K. Izzudin questioned the minister on social media if he had discarded the wristband, while Syafiq al-Mahdaly said the minister was supposed to remain under quarantine at home for 14 days upon returning from abroad.
"The minister's Facebook posts showed he was going everywhere. Can't see his pink wristband. Double standards?" he asked.
Another poster on social media named Aliff added that even Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had abided by the quarantine order. "No excuses," he said.
Meanwhile, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said that a woman was fined RM8,000 (S$2,620) for flouting the quarantine order. "Where is justice? No sense of responsibility," he said.
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil questioned if there were different sets of laws for the ordinary people and ministers.