Former prime minister Najib Razak put up a brave front today after admitting to breaching Covid-19 SOPs during a visit to a popular food outlet in the city centre.
Najib, who has emerged as a vocal critic of the government’s Covid-19 containment measures, was seen entering Nasi Ayam Hainan Chee Meng in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, without scanning the restaurant’s QR code as required under Covid-19 SOPs.
He claimed that his officers had checked in on his behalf.
“I admit my mistake this time in not checking in myself although my officers did,” he said in a Facebook post after he was criticised on social media.
The former leader also invited the authorities to issue him with a summons while claiming that his action was an “unintentional mistake”.
The compound for not scanning MySejahtera is RM1,500, as stated by law minister Takiyuddin Hassan two days ago.
“I will pay the compound within seven days in order to get the early bird discount of 50%, meaning a fine of RM750. I will pay the summons for my mistake voluntarily,” Najib said.
A one-and-a-half minute video clip being shared on mobile messaging platform WhatsApp shows Najib arriving at the restaurant accompanied by a police escort, part of the official security apparatus provided by the government for former prime ministers.
The clip prompted comments from social media users.
“Only in Malaysia convicted VIPs treated like a super star,” read one comment by user Tanaraj Rajoo.
Najib is among Umno leaders who have joined opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and others in questioning the revised compounds, accusing Putrajaya of double standards in enforcing SOP laws.
He also recently hit out at Khairy Jamaluddin, the minister in charge of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, claiming that it would not be able to achieve its objective of reaching herd immunity within this year.
Despite breaching the SOPs, Najib continued to hit out at the authorities, claiming he was law-abiding unlike “other ministers”.
“If they have double standards, that is their business. I want no double standards in my case.”
Under current SOPs, patrons must scan in using the MySejahtera contact tracing app and check their temperatures before entering a premise.
Thousands of people have been slapped with compounds for breaching SOPs since last year.
Hundreds have also been slapped with the recently revised compound of RM10,000.
The restaurant owner who spoke to MalaysiaNow said Najib had arrived at very short notice.
“We didn’t know how many people came,” he said. “I asked but they didn’t give me an exact number so we weren’t really sure.
“As far as I was concerned, when he came I told his officer to scan MySejahtera. But he is the VIP, so if we expect all of them to scan one by one, it would be difficult,” he said.
Farhira Farudin contributed to this report.