Saturday, October 16, 2021

PMO slams ex-deputy minister over claim that PM refused to undergo quarantine

Mohd Puad Zarkashi will face legal action if he fails to tender a public apology.

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Putrajaya has threatened to take legal action against a former deputy minister for claiming that the shorter quarantine period for Cabinet members returning from abroad was due to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s refusal to undergo the mandatory quarantine after his Indonesian trip.

The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement strongly denied the suggestion by Mohd Puad Zarkashi, the former deputy education minister.

“The accusation by Mohd Puad Zarkashi is extremly malicious and tarnishes the good name of the prime minister.

“Legal action will be taken against him if he fails to offer a public apology,” the PMO said in a statement.

It said Muhyiddin has been ordered to undergo home surveillance order, or HSO, as well as to wear a wristband since his return from Jakarta on Feb 5.

Mohd Puad Zarkashi

A federal government gazette signed yesterday exempts ministers who return from official visits abroad from being subjected to the 10-day quarantine upon their return.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in his daily press briefing today explained that officials must submit an application for such exemption before the trip to enable health officials to conduct a risk assessment of their trip before granting it.

Noor Hisham also confirmed that he had ordered Muhyiddin to undergo HSO on Feb 5, the first day of his return from Indonesia.

He said the prime minister took Covid-19 tests on Feb 3, a day before his trip, as well as the following day in Jakarta.

Another swab test was done today.

Muhyiddin’s Indonesia trip was his first official visit abroad since he was sworn into office on March 1 last year, just days before the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread in the country, leading to the nationwide movement control order which included the closure of borders.

Puad, the former Batu Pahat MP who is among the most vocal critics of the present government, claimed in a Facebook post that there had been a commotion at the Subang airport where Muhyiddin’s delegation landed.

“Health ministry officials were waiting for quarantine management duties when the PM’s delegation arrived from Jakarta. It is said they refused the 10-day quarantine? The people deserve to know,” said Puad, accusing authorities of discrimination in implementing the quarantine order.

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