No go-ahead for tabligh event if PH knew govt would change, says Khalid

The Sri Petaling mosque tabligh gathering is the largest Covid-19 cluster in the country.

PETALING JAYA: Former Federal Territories minister Khalid Samad says the Pakatan Harapan-led government would not have approved the Sri Petaling mosque tabligh convention had it known there would be a change in government.

Khalid Samad.

In a Malaysiakini report today, Khalid confirmed that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had approved an application to close a road for the event, subject to prior approvals from the police.

Former prime minister Najib Razak had questioned why DBKL had issued a letter on Feb 17, stating it had no objections to the event.

“Who was the minister in charge of DBKL on Feb 17?” Najib asked in a tweet.

The tabligh gathering has since caused infections among a total of 1,950 people, making it the largest cluster in the country.

But Khalid told the media outlet today that overall approval for the gathering was not seen as a problem at the time.

“The Harapan government had handled the outbreak well during the first wave and if we continued to remain in government, we were confident that we could have handled the second wave as well.

“If we had known there would be a change in government and the new government taking over is less capable, for sure we would not have approved it (the tabligh gathering),” he said.

Najib and Health Minister Dr Adham Baba have been trading bards with PH leaders, including Khalid, former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and his former deputy Dr Lee Boon Chye, over the spread of Covid-19.

Najib and Adham have blamed the previous administration for failing to contain the spread of the virus, with Najib citing a Feb 12 World Health Organization recommendation for all mass gatherings to be postponed.

This was a day before the tabligh event was approved by the authorities.

Dzulkefly has said the responsibility lay with the home minister then, Muhyiddin Yassin, who is now the prime minister.

Lee, meanwhile, explained that the ministry would not have known there would be delegates from affected countries attending the gathering, and if they knew, they would have stopped it from taking place.

He said Muhyiddin and then foreign affairs minister Saifuddin Abdullah should have not allowed those from affected countries to enter Malaysia.

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