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Higher Education Ministry director-general Husaini Omar said his ministry will try to help Universiti Malaya (UM) students who were forced to fork out their own money to undergo Covid-19 PCR test through private clinics for their journey back to their home states.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Husaini (above) said students were notified, early on, by the ministry on student movement guidelines during the lockdown.
However, he said some students still chose to buy tickets early, which complicated matters as government clinics could not produce test results in time for their flights to their hometowns.
“Students should have planned their journey properly so they don’t have to end up going to private clinics (for their swab test).
“But since the matter has surfaced, I have instructed my officers to contact UM and to try to assist the students as best as we could,” he added.
Husaini was commenting on a statement by Universiti Malaya Students’ Union (UMSU) last week, which demanded that the university reimburses some of its East Malaysian students who were forced to pay hundreds of ringgit for swab tests at private medical facilities.
Previously, UMSU president Wan Afiq Ikhwan Wan Alias told Malaysiakini that many students bought early tickets due to cheaper prices, but had no idea that PCR test results from government clinics took so long.
“That prompted many students to opt for private clinics, which provide faster results, as Sarawak requires all visitors to submit a PCR test five days before their flight, while Sabah requires three days,” he said.
Wan Afiq said he had submitted a request to the university management to set aside a fund for the affected students to claim the cost they paid for the tests.
“The university replied that it will try to look into the possibility of this, but the university could not promise anything at this point.”