Health Ministry discharged me early from 14-day quarantine to attend Parliament, says Kitingan

Keningau MP Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan's presence at Parliament stirred questions by the Sabah opposition MPs on whether he completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine after coming into Kuala Lumpur from Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: Health officials cleared me to attend Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 24), says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan amid claims by the Opposition that he failed to complete his 14-day Covid-19 quarantine.

“I went to the health office and they gave me the quarantine release order. My quarantine wrist band was cut off.

“It is not true I did not observe the quarantine. They (Opposition) just kacau (disturb me), ” the Sabah Deputy Chief Minister said when contacted.

Kitingan, the Keningau MP and Sabah STAR president, also provided, via WhatsApp, a copy of the Health Ministry’s quarantine release order that was issued on Nov 23, two days ahead of the end of the 14-day quarantine.

He was under mandatory Covid-19 home quarantine from Nov 12 to 25 but the order to release him earlier was made after health officials declared his health status satisfactory.

In a Facebook post, DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin had questioned whether Jeffrey was breaching the 14-day quarantine order for all Sabahans arriving in Kuala Lumpur.

“With less than 14 days of quarantine, he can attend Parliament. Shouldn’t he follow the standard operating procedures as well?" Chan asked, adding that it was unfair for other MPs from Sabah.

“We Sabah MPs have sacrificed a lot to obey the 14-day quarantine upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur. No going back to constituency throughout the whole parliament sitting, ” he said.

Opposition lawmakers had also raised the issue in Parliament on Tuesday.

In the Dewan Rakyat, Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Mohd Said, who was presiding at the time, said she was unable to provide a ruling immediately and had to consult the Dewan Rakyat secretary for an explanation.

A few minutes later, she received an official answer and said that Kitingan was allowed to attend the Parliamentary proceedings after he received a relief order by the Health Ministry.

Azalina said she had obtained the official explanation from Parliament and those unhappy with the decision could bring it up with Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

Later, Azhar said was made to understand that Kitingan had started his quarantine on Nov 12 and received his release order from the Health Ministry on Monday (Nov 23).

Several MPs had then interrupted and said the number of quarantine days was less than what was required.

To this, Azhar then said he needed time to check with the Health authorities as the ruling was made based on the information given to him.

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