Three-day quarantine for Cabinet Ministers not a smart move, says MCA

Public uproar against Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba's order exempting Cabinet Ministers who have returned from overseas from a 10-day quarantine and reducing it to three days under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease (Exemption) Order 2021 gazetted on Feb 8,2021 comes as a no-brainer.

The Health Minister should just rescind the gazette and revert to the 10-day quarantine.

Sabah Wanita MCA also appeals to Cabinet Ministers to exercise prudence and caution by not taking the three-day quarantine flexibility for granted. Instead, self-practise the 10-day quarantine. Keep abreast with constituency, state and federal matters via online video meetings, reports from local officials from the ground and from news portals.

To give Dr Adham Baba the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he recognises that Cabinet Ministers are public figures and need to be seen to be working rather than being huddled away. Voters today compared to the bygone era hold much higher expectations from Cabinet Ministers and expect those who hold high office to work, perform and deliver. Reducing the 10-day quarantine to three days thus enables Cabinet Ministers to "turun padang" earlier.

However, voters also expect Cabinet Ministers who formulate policies to be accountable to the rakyat whereby in this case, the matter of life and death takes precedence over being seen to "turun padang", and what would appear to the public as double standards.

As legislators, the public expect elected representatives to obey the law and not draft new rules to place themselves above it.

Covid-19 is not an intelligent virus which knows how to differentiate and attack the lowly foreign worker as opposed to Cabinet Ministers. The average incubation duration for this coronavirus is from five to six days. Although the first test may be negative, there are many instances where the second test is positive.

This MCO 2.0 is already weighing down many quarters from the economy to public well-being, mental health and others. The Health Minister can restore some confidence by withdrawing the gazette, thereby indicating the Health Ministry's serious stand against what appears to be double standards and curtailing the Covid-19 spread. The last thing we need is a Ministers' Cluster.

Dr Pamela Yong , Sabah Wanita MCA chairperson

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