Malaysians back from cancelled tabligh event to be quarantined

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians who are currently in Indonesia to attend the now-cancelled international tabligh gathering will be quarantined on their return home.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Immigration Department has been notified of the government’s decision and will be monitoring all international entry points in the country to identify the individuals.

He said about 89 Malaysians are currently in Gowa, Makassar in Indonesia, with thousands of other Muslim pilgrims at the event.

“We take note of the concern shared by the rakyat. We view this matter seriously and have instructed immigration officials to take the necessary action at entry points.

“When they (Malaysians in Indonesia) enter Malaysia, they will be quarantined for 14 days at designated quarantine centres,” he said at a press conference after a special ministers’ meeting on the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) yesterday.

Ismail also explained that the Malaysians who had left for Indonesia had flown out of the country before the MCO was declared on Wednesday.

The programme in Gowa, which was expected to attract over 8,000 people, was called off earlier yesterday for fear of spreading the Covid-19 virus.

The cancellation of the event comes just weeks after a similar gathering in Malaysia that led to hundreds of individuals being infected by the virus.

Ismail said at present, about 4,000 Malaysians who attended the tabligh gathering in Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling earlier this month have yet to be traced and identified by the authorities.

“The police have decided to track them down themselves. And I personally urge these individuals to come forward and undergo the necessary health checks,” he said.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said that efforts have already been made to identify all those who were involved in the religious gathering in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, organisers of the talibgh gathering at Masjid Jamek in Seri Serdang have disassociated themselves from the Indonesian gathering, saying that they played no role in sending any Malaysians to Indonesia, nor were they involved in the organising of the event there.

According to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s Facebook post, to date, only 10,650 of the overall estimated 14,500 individuals who attended the mass gathering have been traced.

Of this figure, 4,986 samples have been taken with 513 of those testing positive for Covid-19.

The other 4,000 plus are asked to come forward to get themselves tested before the authorities do.