Netizens blast politicians on Twitter after post-election virus jump

The hashtags #PoliticiansPuncaVirus and #KlusterMenteri are currently trending on Twitter.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians took to social media on Friday to lambast the country’s politicians for violating social distancing SOPs and refusing to self-isolate, after the country recorded its second-highest spike in daily coronavirus cases following the Sabah election last week.

Malaysia has reported a steady climb in cases after an increase in travellers to the state ahead of its polls last Saturday. Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 260 new infections, the highest since its June 4 peak of 277.

The government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has drawn criticism for failing to impose controls such as mandatory screening for travellers from Sabah prior to the elections, and for allowing people to cut short a 14-day home quarantine order if they tested negative for the virus.

However, health officials have defended the decision to not announce the control measures sooner, saying authorities did not want to discourage voters from returning home to cast their ballots.

The hashtags #PoliticiansPuncaVirus (politicians cause virus) and #KlusterMenteri (minister cluster) are trending on Twitter today after ministers and political figures were reported attending public events upon their return from campaigning in the state.

At least two politicians tested positive on the campaign trail, while cases linked to travel to Sabah have been recorded in all 13 Malaysian states.

“Why didn’t you quarantine yourself for 14 days?” Twitter user @safiqshahid asked Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa who posted photos of himself at a business congress after returning from Sabah this week.

In a statement, Annuar’s press secretary denied that the minister had breached quarantine rules, saying he had already completed self-isolation and tested negative days before the election.

Some Twitter users also raised concerns about risks posed by national elections, which could be called as early as this year amid uncertainty over the stability of the ruling alliance, which has a two-seat majority in Parliament.

Muhyiddin is facing a leadership challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who last week said he had secured the support from a majority of lawmakers to form a government.

Malaysia has reported a total of 11,484 Covid-19 cases so far, including 136 deaths.