Two deputy ministers and a state chief minister were recently caught breaching the Movement Control Order (MCO) by attending social gatherings
The MCO came into effect on 18 March as an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country. It requires Malaysians to stay at home and bans social gatherings of all forms, regardless if they are birthday celebrations, jamuans, or house visits.
1. Deputy Rural Development Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad
Photographs showing Abdul Rahman holding a cake while being surrounded by a group of people went viral last Friday, 17 April.
According to The Star, the Deputy Rural Development Minister said the group came to his house without notice and wanted to send him off to Putrajaya.
"It was all unplanned and I didn't want to chase them away," Abdul Rahman told the English daily.
"I was leaving at around 9am when I saw them arriving with a cake. They told me that they wanted to wish me well on my journey to Putrajaya, and that they wanted to give me the cake as it was coincidentally my birthday that day."
He said the photos were taken last Monday, 13 April, and that the group of people were volunteers who helped to distribute necessities to his constituents in Lipis, Pahang.
The deputy minister explained that he was not wearing a face mask because he was following advisory from the government that only people showing COVID-19 symptoms will have to wear it.
However, the photos show that neither Abdul Rahman nor the volunteers practised social distancing during the cake cutting ceremony.
2. Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali
The other deputy minister who breached the MCO is from the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Dr Noor Azmi posted photos of himself and his entourage visiting a tahfiz school in Lenggong, Perak, reported Malaysiakini.
In the photos, Dr Noor Azmi is seen handing out goods to several people and about 20 people are seen sitting on the floor to enjoy a meal together.
He has since deleted the photos from his Facebook, but copies of the photos continue to make rounds on the Internet.
Dr Noor Azmi's actions have been widely criticised by the public. Even his coalition member, UMNO vice president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, chastised him for breaching the MCO.
"He is the Deputy Health Minister - not any other deputy minister - who has failed to set a good example during the MCO," said Mohamed Khaled in an Instagram post.
"In other countries such as New Zealand, the health minister resigned for violating lockdown rules. People also voiced their anger when the UK housing minister and South Africa communication minister made the same offence. We do not want to have different rules, leaders must be role models to the people."
3. Terengganu Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar
Photos showing Dr Ahmad standing shoulder to shoulder with a group of people caught the attention of the public over the weekend.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the photos were taken last Friday, 17 April.
Following the public uproar, Terengganu UMNO chief Ahmad Said has come to the defence of Dr Ahmad, explaining that the group was merely excited to see the state Chief Minister.
"Punish me if I am found guilty, but not the volunteers who work hard to help deliver aid to the poor," said Ahmad, who is a former chief minister.
"They (volunteers) were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the Chief Minister and started taking pictures... it was in this excitement that they forgot to observe social distancing with one another."
New Straits Times reported that the police have taken Dr Ahmad's statement after police reports were lodged against him.
Terengganu police chief Datuk Roslee Chik said the case is currently being investigated under Section 6 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the police will take action against the VIPs
Ismail said in a press conference today, 20 April, that no one is above the law and that he will leave it to the police to take further action against them.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also taken a jab at the government, claiming some leaders seem to have "special" privileges.
"It seems some of those holding government positions are deemed 'more special' than others when they violate the MCO. The government should set a good example," said the 94-year-old in a video published on Saturday, 18 April.
"They should follow the rules they themselves made... the laws do not discriminate. The rules made (for MCO) were based on the laws and must be applied to all."
On 11 April, Minister of Economic Affairs Mustapa Mohamed allegedly breached the MCO by travelling back to his constituency:
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