Malaysian police have arrested 49 men — 48 of them Bangladeshis — in connection with a prayer gathering, in violation of Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP), outside a surau (Islamic assembly building) in Taman Pelangi area of Johor state.
Hundreds of foreigners allegedly performed prayers outside the surau Tuesday morning.
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Penang Police Chief Commander Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said of those detained, 48 were from Bangladesh and one was a local.
The men were allegedly performing Eid-ul-Azha (Hari Raya Aidiladha) prayers outside the surau during Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan from the pandemic in Penang.
Earlier, Shuhaily said the group had allegedly gone to the surau for prayers in the morning but they were denied entry as the limit of 100 people was reached.
They then allegedly proceeded to perform their prayers on the road in front of the surau, which is near the Taman Pelangi flats in Auto City, Juru.
“The surau management had asked them to disperse and locked the gate to prevent further entry.
“As the surau respected the sensitivity of those who wanted to perform prayers and the incident happened spontaneously, it did not inform the police about the numbers outside,” he said.
Shuhaily added that despite the group practicing physical distancing, police will still track them down to facilitate investigation under Section 269 of the Penal Code for a negligent act that could spread an infectious disease as well as movement without permission, Section 270 of the Penal Code for spreading harmful infection and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) (Measures in Communicable Areas) Regulations 2020.
He said no action would be taken against the surau operator as he had complied with SOP.
Meanwhile, Shuhaily said the neighbourhood comprised about 8,000 people living in 23 blocks of flats of whom about 70 percent are foreigners working in nearby factories.
The area is just 2.5km away from the Taman Nagasari neighbourhood which was placed under a 14-day enhanced movement control order that ended on July 17.
Copyright: The Star/ Asia News Network