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If only he was allowed to undergo home quarantine, Tan KS believes he would have been able to see his father one last time before he was buried.
He will now have to settle for the memory of his last trip home before his father passed.
In late February, the airline captain travelled from his hometown in Klang, Selangor, to Singapore where he works.
Whilst undergoing a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine on the island state, Tan’s 74-year-old father died of a heart attack on March 6.
He immediately appealed to Singaporean and Malaysian authorities to be allowed to attend the funeral, to be held in two days’ time at his family home.
While Singapore agreed to release him provided he tested negative for Covid-19, Malaysia declined his request to be quarantined at home rather than in a hotel, away from his family.
In an e-mail seen by Malaysiakini, the Health Ministry told Tan he will first need to get to a designated quarantine facility as per standard operating procedure before applying for “time-off” to attend the funeral.Tan (left) with his dad and family members
The frequency and duration of the time-off, however, was contingent on whether the facility had available transport and personnel.
In the end, Tan decided not to make the trip home as he predicted he would have missed the March 8 morning funeral, anyway.
“By the time they (the quarantine facility team) arrange everything and send a team to take me home, everything would have ended.
“But without the hotel quarantine and if I had been allowed to undergo home quarantine, I would have been able to go directly home from the airport. And reached in time to see my father being sent off from the house,” he rued.
“I feel sad definitely because it was his last journey,” said Tan about not being able to send his father off.
'Why didn’t I qualify?'
Tan shared his experience with Malaysiakini after learning that the ministry had allowed Deputy Federal Territories Minister Edmund Santhara to undergo home quarantine after his controversial New Zealand trip.
He questioned the discrepancy.A screenshot of Tan checking in on his gravely-ill father
“I think my case was more qualified for home quarantine when compared to the deputy minister.
“As you can see, I was actually in Singapore serving the full 14-day quarantine, with the two negative Covid-19 results. And I had not been in contact with anyone,” he shared.
Yesterday, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah explained that Santhara was allowed to undergo home quarantine because he had returned from a low-risk country and had a “suitable home”.
Like Santhara, Tan said he had also returned from a country with very few Covid-19 cases.