RM115.9m spent on 322 quarantine centres

The cost to house an individual for the 14-day quarantine period is RM4,700 if placed at ILAs and RM4,100 if placed at hotels

pic by TMR FILE

PUTRAJAYA spent a total of RM115.9 million on 322 quarantine centres to house 104,467 persons under surveillance (PUS) up until July 24, 2020.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (picture) told the Dewan Rakyat that for food and other services, RM2.12 million was paid to 20 contractors with one pending payment.

He also informed the lower house that the cost to house an individual for the 14-day quarantine period was RM4,700 if placed at government-owned public training institutes (ILAs) and RM4,100 for the hotels.

“As of July 24, RM49.6 million was spent to use 157 designated hotels as quarantine stations, while RM66.3 million was for ILAs.

“A total of 1,572 quarantine stations were designated following the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. Mohd Redzuan was responding to Sim Chee Keong’s (Pakatan Harapan-Bukit Mertajam) query on the quarantine centres, private contractors involved in preparing food and other services, the duration and cost of each contract.

On students in Kelantan who were forced to pay about RM1,890 for being quarantined in a hotel after returning from Yemen, Mohd Redzuan said the matter was resolved.

He said there were some delays in the students’ release, as time was needed to sort details with Wisma Putra and the Inland Revenue Board to identify those who needed help.

Mohd Redzuan also clarified that not all students returning home from abroad would enjoy a free stay at designated hotels used as quarantine centres.

“We cannot open the doors for all students returning home from abroad, as the expenditure will be too high,” he explained.

This was to ensure that the government did not incur large expenditure and only provided targeted assistance.

“For example, there are students who study abroad using their own expenses and have parents with high incomes.

“In this situation, we will liaise with Wisma Putra to provide targeted assistance,” Mohd Redzuan added.

When asked what was the actual cost involved in quarantining individuals, as there had been reports that some were required to pay more than RM2,100, he said only those under the bottom 40% income group, the disabled and students were provided free accommodations at ILAs.

“For others staying at designated hotels, they will have to pay RM150 a day. This is half of the cost, as the government will bear the other half,” he said.

The government had on July 24, reverted to an earlier policy of quarantining returning Malaysians and foreigners under certain categories in designated quarantine centres.

This was following the incident whereby many returnees failed to isolate themselves in a room or to visit health clinics for a second Covid-19 swab test on the 13th day of quarantine.

Mohd Redzuan also highlighted that foreigners returning to Malaysia would have to bear the full cost of quarantine.