KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Malaysian students from the B40 group who are returning from abroad and can’t pay the quarantine costs will be exempted from doing so, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said those who were already in the country could appeal to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) while those arriving from now onwards would be sent to the Public Training Institute (ILA), where they will be quarantined for free.
This decision was made during the Special Ministerial Meeting on the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) today, he told a media briefing on the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in Parliament today.
Ismail Sabri said those who were sponsored or took loans or scholarships to study abroad, then the quarantine costs would have to be borne by the sponsors.
“Yesterday, there were reports about students returning from Yemen loitering in the hotel area because they could not afford to pay the quarantine costs. So, the meeting today agreed for students from low-income families to be exempted from paying the costs, but those who can afford it must pay themselves,” he said.
He urged students who will be returning from abroad to register with the Foreign Ministry by providing personal details and family backgrounds so that the ministry could inform NADMA.
“So when they arrive in Malaysia, we will already have their names and they will be sent straight to ILA. There’s no need to wait around at hotels, like what happened yesterday,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said the government also took a serious view regarding the non-compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for home quarantine as it had led to an increased number of COVID-19 infections among family members and surrounding communities.
He said Ministry of Health (MOH) officers and police personnel would conduct spot checks to ensure everyone involved complied with the SOPs.
“Yesterday, police carried out 2,160 spot checks and action was taken against 51 individuals for flouting the home quarantine SOPs,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said that 4,768 individuals returned home from 26 countries and regions between July 24 and Aug 2, adding that they have all been placed at 19 hotels and five ILAs in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Johor, Sarawak and Kelantan.
The 26 countries and regions were the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, the UAE, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Iran, Bangladesh, Taiwan, China, United Kingdom, Holland, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, Spain and Australia.