Frankly Speaking: A case of the mother crab telling its young to walk straight

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on August 24, 2020 - August 30, 2020.
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Last week, another Cabinet minister made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. After Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was caught vaping during parliamentary proceedings recently, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali drew strong criticism for failing to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine for Covid-19 prevention.

It was revealed that the Member of Parliament for Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, had returned from a visit to Turkey on July 7 and was already back in Parliament on July 13.

A source close to Khairuddin reportedly tried to defend his action by pointing out that the minister had tested negative on arrival. A negative test result is good news, but when it comes to Covid-19, just because a person does not test positive for the virus upon his return from abroad, it does not mean he is not infected, experts say. That is because he remains at risk of infection or could be asymptomatic during the 14-day period.

Indeed, like the rest of Malaysians who returned from abroad, Khairuddin should be forced to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated hotel. If he does not want to, then he should face legal action. After all, no one is immune to the law or Covid-19. No one — not even a Cabinet minister — is invincible and everyone faces the same health threat from the disease.

Ironically, Khairuddin had earlier criticised the index case in the Sivagangga cluster who broke his quarantine. After pleading guilty to defying the home quarantine order under the Recovery Movement Control Order, the individual involved was sentenced to five months’ jail and fined RM12,000.

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