PETALING JAYA: Malaysians took to social media to express discontent over a new rule allowing Cabinet ministers returning from official overseas visits to undergo a three-day observation period instead of 10 days.
According to a new ministerial order issued by the Government on Monday (Feb 8), ministers returning from abroad will undergo a reduced period of three days of observation or be under home surveillance until discharge without danger to the public.
Effective Dec 14 last year, Malaysians returning from abroad and those who have had close contact with a person infected with Covid-19 will need to be quarantined for 10 days instead of the earlier practice of 14 days.
On The Star’s official Facebook page, the majority of commenters were baffled by the change in observation period and called out the double standards in the new ruling.
Reader Tracy Tai asked: “Why can’t they (ministers) be quarantined 14 days like everyone else, and get swab before going out. (sic) Think about the consequences of spreading to community.”
Echoing Tai's sentiments, MK Ganesan commented: “Why such deviation from the rest of us? This is clearly forsaking safety and a double standard. Irresponsible.”
Vanitha Rangganathan, who had similar thoughts, said: “We all pose the same threat to each other as long as we are not vaccinated. This is baffling.”
Lim ML, who was also confused by the ruling, asked: “In times of a public health crisis, decisions must be made based on science, facts and figures. Is this the SOP adopted by WHO?”
Anis Hashim, who was one of the many commenters displeased with the reduced observation period, called on the Government to reconsider the ruling.
“Be a responsible government and walk the talk!” she said. “Put all the politicians and ministers to the same SOP!”
Besides questioning the shortened observation period, some Malaysians also challenged the need for ministers to go on overseas trips in the midst of a pandemic.
“Is it even necessary for official overseas visits? Waste of taxpayers’ money and might as well use the money for helping the rakyat. Just do it via virtual meetings, ” said Angeline Tesla Ng.
On Twitter, The Star’s tweet on the ruling also received responses from Malaysians calling out the double standards and questioning the need for a reduced observation period.
@Macyng71 warned that the new ruling could trigger a rise in Covid-19 cases again.
“We are just beginning to see a bit of downtrend on new daily cases... Do not create another blunder too, this can trigger another rise in cases, ” she said.
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