Our strict quarantine rules deter foreign investors from visiting Malaysia.
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The recent announcement that cabinet ministers will only be required to quarantine for 3 days was highly unpopular and received public backlash.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Adham Baba has clarified that this 3-day quarantine only a part of what is known as a “Travel Bubble”.
Bubbled in isolation
The “travel bubble” is meant for ministers who will go overseas to secure foreign investments. These ministers cannot deviate from the itenerary, so as to strictly control the exact people that they will come into contact with. Ministers will also not be allowed free reign.
Ministers wanting to travel must take four swab tests: once before they depart, once when they arrive at the host country, once before they return to Malaysia, and once when they arrive in Malaysia. Additionally, the shortened quarantine period does not mean that ministers will be immediately released after three days.
Only if the health authorities are completely certain that the minister is not a threat to the health of the community, then they will be allowed to be released from isolation. If there is even the slightest indication that they may be a carrier or suffering from symptoms, then they will be placed under further observation until the health authorities are completely satisfied before releasing them.Health Minister Datuk Dr Adham Baba to The Star
Essentially, the travel bubble for ministers is similar to the local travel bubbles employed during the MCO, such as no interstate travel and movement only within 10km of our home. It applies the same concept: a small bubble with limited people that moves around in a limited space.
It’s not about the science, it’s about the economy
Other countries and trading partners do not practice strict quarantine rules like Malaysia, says Dr Adham.
Our strict quarantine rules, such as a mandatory self-quarantine of 10 days, deters foreign investors, which spells bad news for the country’s economy. When foreign leaders don’t visit, investments don’t come.
This year’s MCO lockdown (affectionately coined MCO2.0) is costing the country RM600 million a day. Hence why minister’s foreign travel has become an urgent need to bring foreign investments back to the country.
Dr Adham also admitted that while the 10-day quarantine was based on clinical data, the new regulation for ministers is not completely based on science.
This is not about science totally. This is about how we regulate who will go abroad. Before, I can lock the country. Now, I can open the country. I have to do something good for our nation.Datuk Dr Adham Baba to MalaysiaKini
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.