Umno supreme council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi has blasted Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali over his Covid-19 quarantine violation and called for legal action against him.
This call, from a member of the minister’s ruling coalition, comes even as an online petition for Khairuddin to resign from his post for bypassing the 14-day quarantine after his trip to Turkey from July 3-7 nears 30,000 signatories.
“He is a minister, he is highly educated, he holds a high party post and he is an Islamist. Why is he willing to break the rules?” asked Puad in a Facebook post.
He also cited Khairuddin’s willingness to donate four months of his salary (from May to August) after being fined RM1,000 by the Health Ministry as an admission of guilt and called for legal action.
“He is willing to pay four months’ salary. That’s not a little. That is proof that he himself admits that his mistake was very serious and embarrassing.”
Yesterday, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that Khairuddin is still being investigated by police.
Meanwhile, lawyers opined that the Kuala Nerus MP can still be charged in court despite having reportedly paid a RM1,000 compound for breaching mandatory quarantine requirements.
In a tweet, Noor Hisham said RM1,000 was the maximum fine for breaching home quarantine.
“Nonetheless, police are still carrying out investigations following police reports,” he added.
Khairuddin was supposed to have undergone home quarantine after returning from Turkey on July 7 but was spotted at several events including having attended Parliament on July 13.
Puad, who is a former Batu Pahat MP, said that the Health Ministry risked destroying its good name over this matter.
“There are two big issues here. The first is the violation of the 14-day quarantine rule for those who have just returned from abroad. Second, the value of the compound fine is too low,” he said.
Puad added that the image of the PN government would also suffer if it looked like the Health Ministry was being forced to cover up for Khairuddin’s mistake.
“Khairuddin should be prosecuted in court. The people’s confidence should not be destroyed,” he insisted.
Yesterday, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok questioned the validity of the RM1,000 compound and asked if it was backdated to avoid Khairuddin being dragged to court for the offence.
Meanwhile, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla questioned whether Khairuddin was not charged to avoid him being disqualified as the Kuala Nerus MP.
This would be a decisive factor given that the PN government has a very slim majority in Parliament of just two MPs.
On Aug 13, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who flouted the quarantine would be brought straight to court instead of being issued a compound. – Malaysiakini