Health ministry cleared me to attend parliament, says Sabah MP after uproar over early discharge from COVID-19 quarantine
KUALA LUMPUR: A federal lawmaker from Sabah state on Tuesday (Nov 24) denied that he had failed to finish serving his COVID-19 quarantine, stating that he was cleared by the Ministry of Health to attend the current parliament meeting.
This came after the opposition asked in parliament if Mr Jeffrey Kitingan had undergone the 14-day quarantine for all Sabah travellers arriving in the peninsula, as per the requirement of the health ministry.
“I went to the health office and they gave me the quarantine release order. My quarantine wrist band was cut off,” Mr Kitingan was quoted as saying by the Star.
“It is not true I did not observe the quarantine. They (the opposition) just kacau (disturb me).”
The Sabah deputy chief minister was under mandatory COVID-19 quarantine from Nov 12 to Nov 25 but the order to release him on Monday was made after health officials declared his health status satisfactory.
Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun was also quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insight after the Sabah Member of Parliament (MP) appeared briefly in parliament on Tuesday: “He was quarantined from November 12 and has tested negative for COVID-19.”
Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman pressed the issue, asking how Mr Kitingan had managed to secure an early discharge from quarantine.
“Many of us Sabah MPs have not gone home and seen our families for almost two months because we respect what was told to us by the speaker.
“I missed my aunt’s funeral for this, so does this mean there are double standards? He is risking the health of all of us in this debate hall," he said.
The speaker replied: “I’m only following the release order from the Ministry of Health.”
“I cannot question this … But I have asked him to stay away for now,” the speaker added, according to the Malaysian Insight.
Separately, Health Minister Adham Baba said in a statement on Tuesday that beginning Wednesday, travellers from Sabah will no longer be required to go through 14-day quarantine upon arriving in other states if they test negative for COVID-19 three days before their journey or do not display any symptoms.
The decision came after risk assessment on COVID-19 cases in Malaysia showed a downward trend for Sabah, compared to trends in other states in Peninsular Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley.