Defence Minster Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced yesterday (28 January) that management boards or committees of apartments and condominiums are allowed to demand tenants to undergo Covid-19 swab tests and provide them with the results before letting them into their homes.
Although there has not been any official government policy on the matter, he said this was allowed in the interest of safety, reported Astro Awani.
“Can. To protect the health of residents, therefore condominium or apartment managements anywhere, can make such a rule. So we do not stop them,” he said.
“There is no policy from the National Security Council (MKN), saying that whoever wants to enter into their condominium or any residents areas must do a swab test first.”
“However we also do not stop the condominium parties or those in any residential areas, in the interest of protecting the health of those in their residential areas, from issuing such an order.”
This announcement sparked criticism among opposition MPs who expressed their concerns on Twitter.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said in a Tweet that Ismail Sabri had failed to refer to scientific methods when implementing new policies.
“Geramnya! When will this Minister use science to govern well? Covid has no discrimination: homeowners vs tenants, Malaysians vs foreigners, citizens vs Ministers. Do not make announcements like this that will burden many tenants.”
Similarly, Klang MP Charles Santiago said that this new rule was discriminatory.
“This is so wrong at many levels. It discriminates. Covid-19 + people and those quarantined will end up in the streets since there are no space in hospitals. Barring people from going to their own homes has no legal basis. Wake up.”
Meanwhile, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil questioned how B40 residents, who can’t afford to pay for a Covid-19 test, will be able to return home if this rule was implemented.
“This policy must be reviewed, if not it may discriminate against those who are needy.”
In another tweet, he said that a policy like this can only be inserted into by-laws through an emergency general meeting (EGM) and 21 days’ notice would be needed. However, an EGM cannot be held during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“How can this instruction be implemented legally? If this is done without an EGM, tenants can challenge this. Is the minister even aware of this?” he said.
Netizens also expressed their frustrations with the ruling:
- “Everyone is already struggling living with covid. Dont make it more difficult for them. Preventing them from entering their own unit is already contradicting the original rule of allowing home quarantine for Category 1 and 2 patients”
- “It is sad that some people in Senior Government positions are not able to put on their thinking caps to work with the relevant people to mitigate this Pandemic.”
- “One swab test costs RM300. If a family has five members it will cost RM1,500. Who is going to bear the cost? If the family doesn’t get tested then they will get chased out. Next time don’t give burdensome suggestions. The people are already burdened!”
What do you think of this? Let us know in the comments below.
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