Malaysiakini
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Gov't urges tabligh undocumented migrants to get tested, assures no arrest

Hariz Mohd

Published
Modified 22 Mar 2020, 7:29 am

CORONAVIRUS | The government is calling for all undocumented migrants who attended the tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling Mosque last month to come forward and get themselves screened for Covid-19.

Senior minister Ismail Sabri said the migrants need not worry about their status as the government has agreed not to look at their status nor take any action for being in the country illegally.

He said the decision was made during the ministers special meeting on the movement control order today, as authorities believe some of the tabligh participants are undocumented migrants who feared that they would get arrested if they were to come forward.

"I have discussed (this) with the inspector general of police earlier, even if there are migrants who do not have valid travel documents, what is important now is for them to come forward without any fear.

"We won't focus on their documents but rather on whether they are positive with Covid-19.

"The most extreme case that could happen is only a 14-day quarantine (for Covid-19). That is all (that can happen)," he told a press conference in Putrajaya this afternoon.

Ismail said the number of participants from the gathering who have come forward so far is still low, with about 9,000 have done so.

Health authorities have previously estimated about 16,000 people attended the gathering, including some 1,500 from overseas.

The figure, however, has been disputed by leaders of the group, whom earlier today issued a statement saying claiming that there were only around 12,500participants

Ismail said the participants who have yet to get themselves tested are urged to do so as soon as possible for the sake of their own safety and also their family members.

"Because as you can see from the case in Sarawak, the death due to Covid-19 did not only involve a tabligh member, but also the member's family.

"The risk is not only high for them but also their family members.

"We have said that the reason they are asked to surrender themselves is not to arrest them, but to get them tested to ensure their safety," he said.

Family members and relatives of those who went to the gathering should also help the authorities by notifying the latter or by taking the person to get tested at the nearest health department.

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