Why offer poorly managed quarantine centres to begin with, Najib asks Sabah

Former prime minister Najib Razak.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak took the Sabah government to task today over the issue of quarantine centres in the state, asking why centres that were said to be poorly managed were put forward to the federal government for consideration in the first place.

In a Facebook post, he said the issues raised by Sabah MCA were not new as many had complained about conditions at the Kota Kinabalu centre since the beginning of the month.

“If the Sabah government already knew that the quarantine centre was in bad shape, why did it still offer use of it to the federal government?

“What is this stupidity? Then you want to blame the federal government for accepting Sabah’s offer?”

Najib was responding to John Wong, the parliamentary researcher of Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, who recently said that all quarantine centres are gazetted and staffed by Putrajaya.

Wong, responding to criticism by Sabah MCA women’s chief Pamela Yong, acknowledged that the quarantine centre at the Likas Sports Complex, which had come under fire on social media, was suggested and set up by the state government.

However, he said the decision to use it as such lay with the federal government. He also said the main federal authority in charge of Covid-19 management and implementation of the movement control order was the health ministry.

Yong had raised a number of grouses made by social media users including frequent water disruptions, an initial unavailability of hand soap dispensers in toilets, poorly maintained toilets, and no regular cleaning or disinfecting of the centres.

Najib, too, had uploaded a video criticising conditions at the centre to which Chan had responded in a Facebook post on April 2. In his post which sparked over 1,200 comments, Chan said the centre had been set up by the federal government, not the state.

He also said the centre had been given the green light by the Sabah health department which was a federal agency under the health ministry.

However, Najib said many of the comments had in fact been critical of Chan.

“It has been almost two months since this issue was raised,” he added.

“Two months ago, this DAP lawmaker knew the state of the quarantine centre but sought to blame the central government.

“After being criticised again last week, he still wants to blame the federal government by giving excuses that do not make sense.

“Why not spend those two months solving the problem by finding a better place for the quarantine centre so that Sabahans have nothing more to complain about?”

He said this should have been its course of action if the state government had been sincere about its efforts.

“If the federal government does not want to accept the better location, then you have the right to blame the federal government,” he added.

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