YB Khairuddin, where was your pink wristband?

Plantation, Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Khairuddin Aman Razali has come under intense fire for being in Parliament six days after returning from abroad.

His presence in the august House raises questions – was he wearing the mandatory pink wristband? And if yes, how was he allowed in Parliament?

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, had in Parliament on Aug 18, highlighted that the PAS politician visited Turkey from July 3 to July 7 and was in Parliament on July 13, and that he had failed to observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon returning from abroad.

Several news agencies later quoted a source close to the minister who gave exact timelines of the series of events, adding Khairuddin tested negative for Covid-19 on July 7.

The source also said Khairuddin would issue a statement over the matter.

Regardless the excuse, will action be taken against Khairuddin who has broken the mandatory quarantine rule? And will the authorities investigate the mystery of the pink wristband?

Was the band taken off? Or was he not given one because he is a minister?

And if he had a band, why didn’t the guards at Parliament deny him entry and report him to the authorities?

What if Khairuddin tested positive for Covid-19 days later?

On June 11, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said those who returned from abroad have to wear the wristband. On June 13, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement: “The wristband can only be removed by the officer authorised to do so after the home supervision and observation period.”

The same rule was broken by a 72-year-old woman who first tested negative for Covid-19 upon returning from the UK, only to test positive later.

Nur Emah Mohamad Hashim was required to observe home quarantine from July 4 until July 18 but had eaten at a cafe on July 6. On Aug 14, she was handed a one-day jail term and fined RM8,000 by the magistrate’s court in Ipoh for violating the quarantine rule.

On Aug 17, Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim posted several pictures of him and other MPs in Parliament on his Twitter account.

One particular picture showed several MPs wearing their face masks below the chin – this despite repeated warnings by the Health Ministry that the face masks should only be worn properly to cover both the nose and mouth or be completely removed.

This is because the neck, a surface that is exposed, may trap the coronavirus and the wearer will then breathe through the contaminated surface.

But they just don’t seem to understand basic logic.

Perhaps Forbes senior contributor Bruce Y. Lee, who is also a professor and digital health expert, explains it better through his June 8 article:

“And having your mask just on your chin? That’s a bit like wearing a condom on your scrotum. It’s not protecting anything, except maybe people from seeing your neck or your goatee.”

But recently, a student was among five individuals who were slapped with a RM1,000 compound for failing to wear face masks properly at the KTM Komuter station in Rawang.

So will those pictured in Anwar’s tweet be facing the RM1,000 compounds too?

The rakyat are tired of the double standards. What happened to “kepimpinan melalui teladan?” Shouldn’t the MPs, being the elected representatives of the people, be setting the example?

Now, what if the average Malaysian argues with enforcers saying that if MPs can break rules and come up with lame excuses, why can’t others do the same?

Sadly, he or she would be slapped with a fine, even face jail time or worse, be humiliated on national television. And if he or she pulled the same stunt at the workplace, a warning letter or disciplinary inquiry will be immediately instituted.

Perhaps that’s the perk of being a politician. “Saya menteri, saya boleh buat sesuka hati.