Cabinet ministers returning from overseas trips will only be subject to a three-day quarantine period as opposed to the usual 10-day quarantine requirement.
The new ministerial order was published in a federal gazette on Monday (8 Feb) signed by Minister of Health Datuk Seri Adham Baba, which will be effective on Tuesday under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act (Act 342).
The order states that cabinet ministers who are returning from any official overseas visit will need to be under observation for three days or undergo supervision until they can be released without endangering the public.
This means that any minister who is returning from an official visit abroad would be exempted from Section 15 of the Act, which states that an authorised officer may order any contact to undergo observation in such place and for such period as he may think fit, or to undergo surveillance until he may be discharged without danger to the public.
Meanwhile, Malaysians returning from overseas are required to undergo a period of supervision and observation of 10 days — a reduced period from 14 days — according to Ministry of Health.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made an official visit to Indonesia last Friday for a one-hour face-to-face meeting with President Joko Widodo.
In October last year, however, Muhyiddin emphasised that there is no practice of double standards in complying with COVID-19 quarantine orders, saying that he himself and his ministers are not exempted from adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Health Ministry.
Over on Facebook, netizens call out the implementation of this new order, labelling this relaxation of rules for ministers as “double standard”.
Several users questioned the logic behind this new order, with some sarcastically commenting that the “virus can now differentiate between normal citizens and ministers”.
A number of netizens called for the general election to change the government.
One user also urged the Health Minister to resign, as his decision “endangered the public” and “clearly did not represent the people’s voice”.