Earlier this week, a passenger on a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight alleged that another passenger, wearing a pink COVID-19 wristband, was allowed to board it from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan, Pahang
According to the complainant's social media post, the incident happened on 2 January 2022, onboard MAS flight MH1276 and involved a male passenger with a pink tag on seat 11F.
Prior to taking to social media, the complainant claimed that they had tried to address the issue directly with the airline representatives, however, it was either dismal or provided with "boilerplate replies".
In their post, the complainant said that they spotted the passenger wearing a pink tag on his left wrist, similar to the ones worn during quarantine related to the COVID-19 infection.
They also claimed the flight attendants were "equally as shocked".
While the complainant was later relocated to another seat on the plane, little was done after that as the remaining passengers were not made aware of the situation and were allowed to disembark on arrival without any information or instructions, the social media post alleged.
"Passenger 11F remained onboard at the time of my disembarkation. Due to concerns for health and safety reasons, I contacted MAS customer service, explained the possible sequelae and severity of the situation and filed a Supplementary Document under AskMH website as instructed," the social media post read.
The complainant alleged that there were no significant updates from MAS for the next two days despite having filed separate complaints
And when they finally reached out in an email with a template response, the complainant accused the airline of being "ignorant" for not understanding the concern about the situation and not prioritising the case.
"In simple terms — a passenger who may be COVID positive/carrier/close contact, clearly wearing a pink quarantine tag, was allowed on your flight full of passengers. And after 48 hours, even with a public health risk, nothing effective has been done to address this issue. Perhaps, in the tiniest of possibilities, there may be a sensible reason as to why a passenger as such ended up seated on a KL-Kuantan flight. And for exactly that reason alone, this should have been promptly investigated and clarified," they asked.
"And even so, why was he not isolated away from the rest? Why was he allowed on the plane in the first place, are we missing something? The pandemic has lasted almost two years, what are the flight protocols for situations like these?"
Why isn't anyone at all concerned?
Following the allegations raised in the viral post, MAS has now clarified that the passenger with the pink wristband onboard its flight was cleared to board under the Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines
The airline said the flight mentioned in the social media post was a same-day connecting flight for the passenger with the pink wristband who was on a journey from Phnom Penh to Kuantan.
MOH usually issues the pink wristband to people ordered to undergo home surveillance — either individual confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 or close contacts of positive cases.
"As per the ministry's Guideline Annex 9 (Guidelines for the Entry Point Screening of Travellers), the passenger (with the pink wristband) was cleared by the ministry to continue his onward journey to Kuantan after being assessed by the Port of Entry Health and Quarantine Office," it said in a statement yesterday, 6 January.
However, the airline gave no explanation as to why the passenger's pink wristband remained on his arms when he was cleared by health authorities for international travel.
MAS also pledged its commitment to providing a safe and comfortable journey to passengers and crew.
"Malaysia Airlines wishes to reiterate its commitment to providing a safe and comfortable journey to passengers and crew guided by aviation health procedures placed by MOH, the World Health Organization (WHO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and International Air Transport Association (IATA)."