Teresa Kok: Khairuddin’s Family, Government Officials Also Went to Turkey

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Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said today she was informed that Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali was accompanied by his family and unnamed officials when he visited Turkey last month.

Kok, who exposed the plantation industries and commodities minister’s apparent failure to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon his return, then asked if those who went with him were also exempted from the self-isolation order imposed on returnees.

“I understand that the minister’s visit to Turkey was also accompanied by family members and government officials.

Choo Choy May

“Are they undergoing the 14-day home quarantine according to government SOP?” she asked in a statement today.

Today, Kok said the minister’s social media entries showed that he had kept a busy schedule during what should have been his quarantine period.

The former minister said this meant Khairuddin would have come into contact with a significant number of Malaysians at the events he attended, creating the possible risk of a new wave of infections.

Kok said based on the Khairuddin’s Facebook entries, the minister started attending official functions as early as three days after he returned from Turkey.

“There is a possibility that thousands of people who had met him are now at risk of Covid-19 and there is a chance for a ‘Khairuddin Takiri’ cluster,” she said.

She said that since she highlighted the issue in Parliament this week, Mohd Khairuddin has remained silent and merely said people should wait for the Health Ministry’s statement.

However, she stressed that his failure to perform the legally-mandated quarantine was clear.

“Based on the SOP’s announced by the National Security Council, he should have been under home quarantine for 14 days upon his return which is from July 7 to July 21 to ensure he is not infected with Covid-19 and does not spread the virus to others,” she said.

Kok said that since the public was already frustrated with the strictness authorities have shown towards ordinary Malaysians caught violating the SOP, the government must avoid any appearance of preferential treatment in dealing with actions that create the risk of Covid-19 infections.

Yesterday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the minister should have been quarantined as it was compulsory to do so and that an investigation will be made into why this did not happen.

A source close to the minister previously claimed Khairuddin went to Turkey with the prime minister’s approval and that the country had been in the “green zone” at the time.

Meanwhile, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today questioned the government’s decision to approve a minister’s unofficial visit to Turkey last month, saying Covid-19 was severe in the middle eastern country that has encountered over 250,000 cases and 6,000 deaths.

While he did not name the minister, the Iskandar Puteri MP was clearly referring to Khairuddin who visited Turkey between July 3 and 7.

“The prime minister must explain to Malaysians what was the reason for him to give authorisation for the minister concerned to visit Turkey and to defy the Covid-19 SOP.

Firdaus Latif

“Who declared Turkey as a ‘green zone country for Covid-19’; was it the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Turkish government or the Malaysian Cabinet?” he asked in a statement today.

Lim said the minister clearly did not undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine after returning from the trip and has openly shown contempt for the rule of law espoused in the Rukunegara that was 50 years’ old this year.

He said the incident was an unmistakable signal that there was no rule of law in the country as there are two classes of Malaysians: ordinary citizens who must abide by the law and the prominent figures who could defy it.

Earlier, Malaysians dug up Khairuddin’s criticism of the quarantine break behind the Sivangga Covid-19 cluster in Kedah to denounce the minister who did not self-isolate after returning from Turkey last month.

In an August 4 post, Khairuddin warned on Facebook that just a single person disobeying the standard operating procedures for Covid-19 containment could put all of Malaysia at risk.

“It starts with one, two and now it has reached over 20 people, enough to shock the country,” the post said.

Shafwan Zaidon

“What is the cause? Failure to obey SOP.

“I repeat. Failure to observe SOP.”

The person behind the Sivangangga cluster has since been sentenced to five months’ imprisonment and fined RM12,000. He has also been sued for over RM1 million by residents and businesses in Kedah.

Under the National Security Council’s SOP, all returnees are tested on arrival and those with negative results must then serve out their 14-day quarantine while those testing positive are sent to a hospital for further treatment.

They are tested again on the 13th day of their quarantine and are only released upon a negative Covid-19 result.

A breach of this order is punishable under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 by up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both upon conviction.