Group to sue man said to have started Sivagangga cluster

Consumers Association of Kedah secretary Mohd Yusrizal Yusoff.

ALOR SETAR: A consumer group and several other NGOs in Kedah are planning to sue the owner of a nasi kandar restaurant who authorities say is the originator of the Sivagangga Covid-19 cluster.

“Legal action against him will serve as a warning to others against messing around with Covid-19 quarantine orders,” Consumers Association of Kedah (CAKE) secretary Mohd Yusrizal Yusoff said.

He told FMT CAKE had decided to take the lead in the civil action, in which at least five other NGOs and several business owners would also be complainants.

He said they were already speaking to lawyers to get the suit drafted.

According to the health ministry, the Sivagangga cluster originated in Napoh, Kubang Pasu, after an Indian man with permanent-resident status in Malaysia disobeyed a quarantine order imposed on his return from a visit to Sivagangga, a town in Tamil Nadu.

The 57-year-old man, who owns the Nasi Kandar Salleh Restaurant, was seen at his shop on Hari Raya Haji wearing a pink band on his left wrist. An internet user uploaded his picture on Facebook and authorities subsequently saw a major rise in Covid-19 cases.

“I think a RM1,000 fine for him would be a slap on the wrist,” Yusrizal said. “We want to take this man to court for he has caused all Kedahans to suffer.”

Four mukims in Kubang Pasu are now on a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO).

The Sivagangga cluster has now spread across three generations, with health authorities saying it might have originated from a “super-spreading” coronavirus strain from Egypt.

The Kedah government yesterday ordered Nasi Kandar Salleh Restaurant closed and Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said it would be sealed until TEMCO ends on Aug 30.

He said the state was considering revoking its business licence.

As of yesterday, there were 132 Covid-19 cases in Kedah, with almost half belonging to the Sivagangga cluster. The virus from the cluster has reportedly spread to neighbouring Perlis and Seberang Perai, Penang.

Penang has so far recorded 125 Covid-19 cases and Perlis 30.

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