Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali still has questions to answer about his breach of Covid-19 quarantine rules, DAP lawmaker Lim Lip Eng said.
The lack of transparency over how his breach occurred has raised questions about whether he really paid a fine, which was only revealed much later, the Kepong MP said.
“Did he pay the RM1,000 compound on August 7, as claimed by the Health Ministry, or was this compound backdated to August 7 after this matter was brought up in Parliament on August 19?” Lim said in a statement, referring to the date Seputeh MP Teresa Kok revealed the breach in Parliament.
Khairuddin’s apology and remark that he had only committed an error over standard operating procedures is insufficient to justify the many questions that have arisen, Lim added.
“He had said that he went to Turkey on a semi-official trip with his family; I want his ministry to disclose if the bills of the flight tickets and the cost of the trip were borne by government (and), if yes, why?
“Under the current economic conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s resources should be used for economic stimulus plans, not on free trips for ministers and their families,” Lim said.
Khairuddin, who has since apologised, said yesterday his error did not warrant his resignation as a minister.
The PAS politician and Kuala Nerus MP has also said he is donating four months of his salary to the government’s Covid-19 fund as atonement.
But, despite the Health Ministry saying a week ago that Khairuddin had paid the RM1,000 compound on August 7, it later said it had not known about his violation when it occurred after his return from Turkey on July 7, only finding out about it in the media after Kok raised the issue in Parliament.
Khairuddin is now also under police investigation and gave his statement to Bukit Aman two days ago after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said recently that authorities should investigate him.
Earlier, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang also demanded answers over Khairuddin’s quarantine breach, including whether he and others on the Turkey trip were made to wear pink wristbands that are mandatory for quarantine subjects, and why they were not isolated in accordance with procedure.
Kok, meanwhile, said Muhyiddin’s support for increasing the compound amount to twice or three times the current RM1,000 should first begin with Khairuddin.
“(The prime minister) should now direct the attorney-general to seek a review of the measly fine of RM1,000 that has been imposed on the minister for a serious offence, immediately.
“Muhyiddin must note that breach of the rules by the minister was not a case of not practising social distancing or not wearing a mask. It was far more serious.
“If Khairuddin is not being penalised more than two to three times higher than the current RM1,000 fine for breaching Covid-19 rules, then Muhyiddin should not increase the current compound,” Kok said in a statement.
The RM1,000 fine is the maximum compound under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).
Last night, in announcing the extension of the recovery movement control order (RMCO) till December 31, Muhyiddin said he supported increasing the compound for breaching Covid-19 orders to “at least two to three times” higher. – TMI