KOTA TINGGI: The government has slammed a report carried in Al Jazeera’s 101 East, in which it accused Malaysia of racism in handling illegal immigrants during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the government imposed the movement control order (MCO) as a way to save the people, regardless of nationality.
“There is no racism and we have to deny this report because we are saving our country and people from an ongoing pandemic.
“The report said what we have conducted is an act of racism against illegal foreign workers, which is absurd,” said Dr Adham, who is also the Tenggara MP, at a meeting with headmasters and principals in his constituency at SMK Tun Habab here yesterday.
He said it was through the MCO that the authorities were able to conduct proper screening and isolate foreigners who showed symptoms of Covid-19 so that they could then get treatment from the ministry.
When asked whether the government would take action against the report, Dr Adham said the government would rectify the matter through Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”, the 101 East report was published last Friday and featured a 25-minute video where it accused the government of using public health and safety reasons to arrest illegal migrants.
The video also showed the Al Jazeera journalist blaming a barbed fence placed during the enhanced MCO period in Selayang, Selangor, for standing in the way of him interviewing one of the illegal migrant workers.
Dr Adham also announced that four polio cases were detected in Labuan and Sabah last week, three of whom were foreigners’ children, aged from three months to 11 years.
He added that the ministry had launched a nationwide polio screening programme.
“The ministry would like to urge parents to ensure their children are receiving the vaccine between the ages of 18 months and five years.
“The polio vaccination injections are free and I hope parents will support our polio immunisation campaign so that it will produce a positive outcome,” he said.
On the fire which broke out at Johor’s Sultanah Aminah Hospital recently, Dr Adham said preliminary reports found faulty electric panels at the women’s medical ward although the ministry had yet to receive the Fire and Rescue Department’s full forensic report.
Meanwhile, five new Covid-19 cases were recorded in the country as at noon yesterday, bringing the cumulative figure to 8,663 cases.
Three of the new cases were imported.
In a statement, Health directorgeneral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the new cases brought the total number of active cases to 77.
He added that the three imported cases involved two Malaysians and one permanent resident.
Both the local transmissions involved Malaysians, detected during pre-screening for an operation. One was at Kota Kinabalu’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the other at a medical centre in Seremban.
Four Covid-19 patients were released from the hospital yesterday, bringing the total number of discharged cases to 8,465 (or 97.7% of total cases).
Two patients were in the intensive care unit (ICU) at present with both requiring assisted breathing.
No deaths were recorded yesterday, with the death toll remaining at 121 cases, he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also announced that two clusters – Gombak and Pangsapuri Cheras – had ended.
“We want to congratulate everyone who has given their service in activities related to the detection of cases and containing the spread of cases related to these clusters,” he said.