KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein assured the country that Malaysians returning from Indonesia after their tabligh event there was postponed will undergo strict health screening and self-quarantine as required under the movement control order.
The foreign minister was commenting on the event for Muslim pilgrims that drew thousands of people to Indonesia at Gowa near the city of Makassar in South Sulawesi province, after a similar event in Malaysia subsequently led to hundreds of infections.
“Many have messaged me regarding the tabligh gathering in Indonesia yesterday because they are worried it will spread Covid-19, especially to Malaysians currently in attendance. Thankful, the authorities and organisers have decided to postpone the gathering in Gowa,” he said on Twitter in response to an article by Astro Awani.
Ramai mesej saya tentang perhimpunan tabligh di Indonesia semalam kerana risau ia merebakkan #COVID19, khususnya kepada rakyat Malaysia yang hadir. Lega, pihak berkuasa & penganjur telah putuskan untuk tangguhkan perhimpunan di Gowa tersebuthttps://t.co/d5QhzFlhUE— Hishammuddin Hussein (@HishammuddinH2O) March 19, 2020
Earlier today, organisers of the Ijtima Asia, part of the global Tablighi Jama’at movement of evangelical Muslims, decided to postpone the event following public backlash.
The postponement was announced by the head of Gowa regency Adnan Purichta Ichsan.
A Malaysian Embassy spokesman in Jakarta said Malaysians who were the gathering attended despite an order prohibiting their participation.
The proselytising Tablighi Jama’at movement behind the gathering in Indonesia also hosted an event in Malaysia from February 27 to March 1 that drew 16,000 followers and led to at least 513 coronavirus infections confirmed to date.
Photos and videos of the Indonesian gathering posted on social media showed huge crowds of men sitting tightly together in a huge tent.