Senior Malaysian minister probed for MCO violations

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – Malaysian senior minister Azmin Ali is among those being probed for health protocol violations over the Hari Raya period, as the authorities acted swiftly on reports of breaches during the latest Movement Control Order (MCO).

The police received a report last Friday alleging that Azmin violated the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on receiving guests from outside his district during the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri

The police report made reference to a Facebook post, which showed a photo of the minister’s family members gathering at his house to celebrate Hari Raya.

The posting also alleged that Azmin’s family members had travelled across districts to celebrate the Aidilfitri in his official residence in Putrajaya.

Malaysian media reported that the post went viral, capturing the attention of netizens who mostly accused Azmin’s family members for violating the MCO SOP which do not allow Hari Raya visits that involve inter-district travelling. However, the Putrajaya district police issued a statement on Sunday saying that its initial investigation revealed that Azmin’s family members in the viral photo were not breaching the SOP, as they all are staying in the same house as Azmin in Putrajaya.

An aerial view shows police manning a roadblock at the East Coast Expressway (Kuala Lumpur–Karak) during a partial lockdown set by authorities. PHOTO: AFP

Azmin, a senior minister responsible for International Trade and Industry in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Cabinet is staying in the minister’s official residence in Precinct 10, Putrajaya.

The Putrajaya Police Chief, Mohd Fadzil Ali was reported as saying by Bernama that “preliminary information showed that the celebration only involved Azmin’s family members who live in the residence”.

“The staff at the official residence’s control post also confirmed that on May 13, there was no movement of guests in and out (the property) as alleged in the viral Facebook post,” said Assistant Commissioner Mohd Fadzil.

He added: “Azmin, his family members, the General Operation Force personnel who are deployed at the residence, Ummi Hafilda Ali Facebook account owner, and other witnesses will be summoned for statement recording to assist the investigation”. According to Bernama, Mohd Fadzil also advised the public not to make statements or comments that could tarnish the image, credibility and dignity of a person or department.

In another police report filed over the weekend, a Johor opposition leader from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Jimmy Puah Wee Tse was also alleged to have violated health protocols by conducting a Hari Raya visit in Ulu Tiram, Johor last Thursday.

Puah who is Johor PKR’s Deputy Chief admitted that he was in the house at the time of the incident but said it was to send contributions and aid to a PKR representative. “Referring to the police report against me for violating the Hari Raya SOP, I would like to emphasise that I do not deny that I was in a house in Taman Desa Jaya at the time of the incident.

“However, my main purpose of going to the house was to send donations to a PKR Women’s wing representatives for distribution to single mothers and asnaf (poor and needy Muslims) and not to celebrate Hari Raya as alleged.”