We will use force, IGP warns tabligh participants refusing screening

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador says a special police task force is tracing those who attended the mass gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque at the end of last month.

PETALING JAYA: Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said police will take drastic action against participants of a tabligh convention at the Sri Petaling Mosque who refuse to come forward for screening.

He said to date, the police task force set up specially for the tabligh Covid-19 cluster had traced 7,671 individuals who attended the event at the end of last month.

“Now, the health ministry has also supplied a list of tabligh participants who have already been screened.

“So we will compare the names and we will know how many have yet to go for screening.

“We will take drastic measures to force them to get tested with the help of the health ministry,” he told Astro Awani in a special broadcast.

Hamid said the task force, under Criminal Investigation Department director Huzir Mohamed, will be handling those who purposely refuse to go for screenings when called to do so by the state health departments.

“This task force has already taken action to investigate and collect information from the public,” he said, adding that many had called up the police to report neighbours who they suspected had taken part in the tabligh convention.

About 16,000 people, including 1,500 foreigners, were earlier reported to have attended the tabligh gathering from Feb 27 to March 1. Many of Malaysia’s confirmed cases of Covid-19 were from this mass gathering.

Earlier, the health ministry said it was tracing more than 5,000 participants believed to have not undergone testing.

Three out of the four reported deaths of Covid-19 patients in the country, were linked to this convention.

The latest victim is a 50-year-old man, according to health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Hisham said there were 153 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected people to 1,183 nationwide.