I refer to the statement made by Backdoor Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the management of condominium and residential complexes has the right to require residents to submit to Covid-19 tests.
The Minister went as far as saying that the management could also bar those who fail to comply from entering their premises.
Ismail Sabri should immediately retract his statement and apologize for making this baseless statement that is set to cause unnecessary issues between the management body and property owners. He should have thought of the consequences of making such a statement before commenting on the issue.
The management of condominium and residential complexes should not be asking property owners or tenants to submit to a Covid-19 test.
Firstly, they don’t have a right to do so. Any medical test results are also private and confidential. The management has no business in requiring owners to submit or show their confidential results to them.
Secondly, there is no sense in asking owners or tenants to take a Covid-19 test. The test could be negative today but tomorrow the owner might get infected because owners and tenants keep on moving in and out of their property to work and conduct other affairs. Does this mean they need to conduct a test every day or week?
On the other hand, as it is, the healthcare system in our country is already at a breaking point. Many Covid-19 patients are quarantining at home because medical personnel are late in fetching them to the hospital. There are already so many incidents of patients complaining that they were never picked up to the hospital, and many recovering from the virus in their homes.
The management of condominium and residential complexes has no right to bar entry or chase out Covid-19 positive owners or tenants from their property. Where would all these patients go if they can’t stay in their house? This will create a disastrous outcome for many owners and tenants who will end up on the streets.
The unnecessary test is also an added strain to the Covid-19 testing capacity. Our country is already facing problems in testing large numbers of people and getting fast results. The testing of more people only adds to the problem and burdens the testing system overall. It is better to reserve the testing for close contacts and suspected cases to reduce the strain on the system and help related people get their test results faster. As a Minister, Ismail Sabri should have known about this. It’s a shame on him!
Many properties are also conducting mandatory temperature checks at the entrance of such properties for owners and tenants. This also makes no sense, because even if fever is detected, what can the management do? They can’t stop the owner from entering. Having fever also does not necessarily mean that they are Covid-19 positive. Temperature check for visitors being done is acceptable, but not for owners and tenants.
The biggest victims in this entire shameful episode would be the migrant community. They would be forced to conduct the test and will also be barred from entering their units. Malaysians generally know their rights and will be able to tell off the management. However, the migrants would be in fear due to a lack of support system and many not well versed with their rights and the law. The statement by Ismail Sabri is going to cause huge havoc in many condo facilities, problems between owners, migrants and the management body.
I urge any property owner who is being barred to enter their property, to make a police report and take the management to court. In any way, they have no right to bar you from entering your units. It’s your right to enter your property. Even if such a ruling is decided and passed at the AGM of the residents’ community, such ruling is in violation of the basic right to shelter and property and can be challenged in court.
The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader Sudhagaran Stanley, a human rights activist.