KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating if Hulu Langat MP Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus violated a home surveillance order after returning to Malaysia from abroad.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Hasanuddin, who is an Amanah vice-president, was granted a quarantine exemption for a trip between December 8 and 12 to Istanbul, Turkey, for an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference together with three other elected representatives, due to the Covid-19 test-and-release protocol for official travel.
However, MOH’s Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) later revoked his quarantine exemption in a December 20 email to the Opposition MP, ordering him to undergo a seven-day home quarantine instead. Hasanuddin arrived in Malaysia on December 22.
“We are now investigating the case to see where he went. Did he go from Turkey onwards to Iran, Pakistan, wherever else he was, and why, upon receiving the HSO, the home surveillance order on the 20th, he broke his quarantine? So we’ll be looking into this,” Khairy told a press conference today, when CodeBlue asked if Hasanuddin breached quarantine protocols.
“But of course, if he did break his quarantine, we can only fine him RM1,000.”
Last Monday, Khairy withdrew the amendment Bill of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) from debate and said it would be re-tabled in the next Parliament meeting in February, after the Dewan Rakyat health, science and innovation special select committee unanimously recommended that the Bill be postponed and improved from further stakeholder engagements.
The initially proposed revisions to Act 342 mooting maximum RM10,000 and RM1 million compounds for individuals and businesses respectively for breaking Covid-19 rules had drawn fierce public outrage.
Hasanuddin posted on December 19 pictures of his meeting with several Pakistan MPs in Islamabad, saying that he was on a Turkey-Pakistan-Tehran mission in his capacity as a member of Malaysia’s Parliamentary Friendship Group upon invitation from the Parliaments of Pakistan and Iran.
After public criticism, he reportedly deleted a picture of himself mountain climbing in Iran on December 18 when his constituency was hit by the flood disaster.
Despite the seven-day home surveillance order issued to Hasanuddin, who returned to Malaysia on December 22, photographs on his Facebook page showed the Pakatan Harapan MP at a flood operation centre at Balai Raya Kg Sg Serai, Dusun Tua, in Hulu Langat with other people preparing contributions of goods. His Facebook post stated that this activity took place on the same day itself at 12.30am.
He engaged in further flood relief work in his constituency in Selangor every day since, based on photographs on his Facebook page.
Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran have all reported Omicron cases, but these countries are not listed on Malaysia’s list of 10 high-risk countries that require travellers to wear digital tracking devices during home quarantine upon return to Malaysia. International travellers returning from other countries are supposed to wear a pink wristband during quarantine.
Pictures of Hasanuddin, while he was out and about in his constituency, showed the lawmaker without a wristband.
Khairy also said today that all ministers returning from abroad – after Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob instructed them to come back and help with flood relief efforts – would be subject to conventional quarantine protocols.
“Although they are being called back, it is very important for us to take precautions and be careful. So, the procedures still apply.”