Past comes back to haunt Malaysian minister at centre of no-quarantine kerfuffle

Mr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali is in hot soup when he did not comply with the 14-day quarantine rule after returning from Turkey. PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The past has come back to haunt a Malaysian Cabinet minister after an earlier post he shared criticising a fellow quarantine breaker re-emerged.

Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, is in hot water when he did not comply with the 14-day quarantine rule after returning from Turkey.

But on Aug 4, Mr Khairuddin criticised the index case of the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah for failing to comply with Covid-19 home quarantine rules after returning from India.

"It started with one person, two people then now it has increased to more than 20 people that is enough to shock the nation.

"What is the cause? The failure to comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP). Again. The failure to comply with the SOP," the minister had said on his Facebook post. He was sharing comments which were attributed to one Faisal Mustaffa.

On Tuesday (Aug 18), opposition MP Teresa Kok claimed in Parliament that Mr Khairuddin had visited Turkey in an unofficial capacity until July 7, but did not undergo the 14-day quarantine rule after returning to the country.

Ms Kok claimed that Mr Khairuddin had then attended Parliament a week later.

Malaysians on social media were outraged at the perceived double standards being accorded to the minister, questioning whether there were different sets of laws for ministers over the ordinary citizens.

On Wednesday, the Sinar Harian newspaper reported that Mr Khairuddin would be issuing a statement regarding his recent trip to Turkey.

A source close to Mr Khairuddin told The Straits Times that the minister had undergone a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 7 and was tested negative.

"He had also undergone a second test three days before the July 13 parliamentary session which was negative," said the source.

In Malaysia, anyone returning from overseas must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Returnees are tested on arrival, and again in two weeks.

Six days ago, a senior citizen was jailed a day and fined RM8,000 (S$2,600) for flouting her quarantine order.

A week ago, an Indian national with Malaysian permanent residency was jailed five months and fined RM12,000 for venturing out during his stay-home order.

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