48 Bangladeshis remanded over prayers outside mosque in Malaysia
Published : Wednesday, 21 July, 2021 at 5:29 PM Count : 427
A Court in Malaysia granted a four-day remand against 48 Bangladeshi men to facilitate investigations into a mass prayer session outside Surau Taman Pelangi in Bukit Mertajam, yesterday in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidiladha, reports Straits Times .
The court also granted a three-day remand order against a 64-year-old local man for the same purpose.
The remand order was issued by assistant court registrar Hasliza Razak.
The remand order was to facilitate police investigations under Section 269 of the Penal Code for negligent acts that could spread an infectious disease as well as movement without permission, Section 270 of the Penal Code for spreading harmful infections and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) (Measures in Communicable Areas) Regulations 2020.
All 49 men arrived at the court complex at about 10.10am in handcuffs and orange lock-up attire.
It was reported that police detained them at various locations in Juru yesterday following a viral video showing more than 200 Muslims, believed to be foreigners, praying in the open outside Surau Taman Pelangi in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidiladha.
The foreign nationals are aged between 20 and 43-years-old.
The surau is one of many in the state allowed to hold Friday prayers as well as Aidiladha prayers.
Initial investigations revealed that more than 200 people had gathered to pray in the open after the surau exceeded its capacity of 100 people.
In a press conference yesterday afternoon, state police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain told reporters that police had initiated a probe into the viral video footage.
He said investigations revealed the surau was already swarmed with hundreds even before the prayers started at 8.30am.
He had also said that the management of the surau then ordered them to leave to meet the 100-person capacity before closing the gates.
"However, the management of the surau did not disperse the crowd, knowing full well the sensitivity of the Aidiladha prayer. They also did not alert the police to the matter.
"This resulted in more than 200 congregation, mainly foreigners, to gather spontaneously outside the surau for the Aidiladha prayer, while observing physical distancing. They left after prayers at about 9am.
"Although the incident happened spontaneously, this does not mean that police will not investigate the matter.
"Police will still investigate if the gathering outside the surau was pre-planned," he was quoted as saying.
Mohd Shuhaily had also apologised to the people of Penang for the police's failure to detect the incident earlier.
Taman Pelangi has a population of about 8,000 people, living in 23 flats in the area.
About 70 per cent of the population there are foreigners, who are working in nearby industries.
Following the incident, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin had asked the Penang police chief to immediately provide a report and detailed explanation on the assignment of personnel responsible for monitoring standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance.
He said the ministry gave its assurance that stern action, without compromise, would be taken against any individual found involved in organising the event, and should it involve foreigners, the ministry has instructed the Immigration Department to take the necessary deportation action under the Immigration Act 1958/63.