World

Malaysian PM wants probe after minister flouts quarantine rule

No one is above the law, says Muhyiddin, after minister flouted quarantine rule and attended Parliament

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's prime minister wants a comprehensive investigation into the case of a minister breaching a mandatory 14-day quarantine, saying no one is above the law.

The government views seriously the alleged breach of quarantine rules by a minister, said Mr Muhyiddin Yassin .

"The government has taken note of, and views seriously, the allegations of a violation of quarantine rules by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali after returning from Turkey on July 7.

"The Perikatan Nasional government is of the stance that every Malaysian is subject to the laws of the country, and no one is exempt.

"As such, I leave it to the relevant authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation, and to take suitable action according to the legal process," he said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Khairuddin recently came under fire for flouting the 14-day mandatory home quarantine rule, and had attended Parliament only a week after his return.

He was slapped with a RM1,000 (S$328) fine and has offered to donate four months' worth of his ministerial salary to a Covid-19 fund.

However, Malaysians have compared his punishment with a case involving a senior citizen who was sentenced to a day's jail and fined RM8,000, in default of six months' jail, by the Magistrate's Court in Ipoh on Aug 4 for a similar offence.

The Malaysian Health Ministry reported seven new cases yesterday, taking the total to 9,274, with the death toll remaining at 125.

Meanwhile, Bali has postponed a plan to reopen to international tourists on Sept 11, its governor said, due to the rising level of cases.

Indonesia has reported more than 155,000 cases and 6,759 deaths as of yesterday, which includes Bali's4,576 cases and 52 deaths.

Bali authorities halted international tourism in early April as the outbreak picked up pace.

NOT CONDUCIVE

Governor Wayan Koster said in a statement that plans to open up Bali to foreign tourists were postponed because the "situation in Indonesia isn't conducive".

A decision on when foreign tourism could resume would depend on an "assessment of the situation".

"Bali cannot fail because it could adversely impact the image of Indonesia, including Bali, in the eyes of the world, which could prove counter-productive to the recovery of travel," Mr Koster said.

Tourism is the island's main source of income and the pandemic has hammered the local economy.

Bali opened up travel to local tourists on July 31, and Mr Koster estimated around 2,500 tourists visited the island each day from then until August 14.

In a separate development, Thailand's tourist arrivals and spending saw a year-on-year slide of about 70 per cent in the first seven months, data showed yesterday, as a fourth month of border closures took a bite out of its struggling economy.

In the January-July period, foreign tourist numbers were at 6.69 million, down 71 per cent year on year, with spending down 70.4 per cent from a year earlier at 332 billion baht (S$14.5 billion). - THE STAR, REUTERS

WORLD