: Sabah did not have prior discussions with the Federal Government over its decision to allow workers from China to enter the state.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob pointed out that at the federal level, the government is still closing its doors to foreign workers, with exception of Senior Management Employment Pass 1 (EP1) category expatriates, subjected to the set standard operating procedures (SOPs).
"China, size-wise, is vast and is still viewed as high risk where COVID-19 is concerned, and the National Security Council (MKN) is still identifying its red and green zones," he said at the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) media briefing here today.
Last Wednesday, the Sabah government was reported to have made a decision to allow Chinese workers to enter the state, although subjected to all regulations set throughout the RMCO period, including having to undergo COVID-19 screenings at their location of origin three days before they arrive in Sabah to ensure they are free of the virus.
On Friday prayers on campus involving international students, Ismail Sabri said there were no restrictions and they were free to join local students.
"They have been on campus long enough and we know there are no new clusters involving campus students, so there is no issue and we (the government) are allowing them to join congregational prayers.
"However, this (permission) is only for prayers at campus mosques," he said, adding that the same permission applies for all international students returning to campus from abroad after they have tested negative for COVID-19.
The government last week allowed for Friday prayers to be held, subject to the area size of the mosques and strict SOP compliance, especially social distancing protocols.
Asked whether those aged 60 and above were not allowed to visit public areas and supermarkets, Ismail Sabri said while there was no such ruling, they were not encouraged to do so as they are part of the (COVID-19) high-risk groups.
"We (the government) have never stopped them but we do advise high risk groups such as senior citizens and children to stay away from such places," he said.