Praying in the dark: Police summon two more witnesses

26/05/2021 05:09 PM

KOTA BHARU, May 26  -- The police have summoned two more witnesses from over 10 congregation members who conducted congregational prayers at a surau in Kampung Pauh Lima, near here close together and in the dark during Ramadan.

Kota Bharu district police chief, ACP Abdul Rahim Daud said the two witnesses, between 50 and 60 years old, were summoned after they had completed their quarantine following suspicions of having COVID-19.

To date, six witnesses had been called to give their statements and assist in the investigation following the incident which resulted in the Pauh Lima Cluster.

“They admitted to having conducted religious activities including performing congregational prayers during the whole of Ramadan under the Movement Control Order (MCO) without physical distancing and with the lights at the surau switched off.

 “Most of them who have been summoned were in their 60s comprising pensioners while the rest have yet to turn up to give their statements as they are undergoing quarantine,’’ he said when contacted here, today.

Commenting further, Abdul Rahim said previously four individuals including an imam had had their statements taken on May 19.

In their statements, he said they admitted that they had conducted congregational prayers, close together and in a dark condition.

He said the investigation was still going on to obtain the statements of the other worshippers comprising residents of Kampung Pauh Lima.

“The investigation is being conducted under Section 21A of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and Regulation 17 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Regulations 2021 (Act 342).

“We will also conduct an investigation for flouting the standard operating procedure (SOP) and this case will be investigated under Section 269 of the Penal Code for negligence which can spread infection,’’ he said.

The media reported that the residents of Kampung Pauh Lima have flouted the SOP and were willing to perform the ‘tarawih’ prayer in the dark to avoid detection by the authorities after the state government issued a directive that only four worshippers were allowed to pray in the surau during the MCO.

The Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) was implemented in Kampung Pauh Lima, Mukim Gunong near Bachok and Kampung Pauh Lima, Mukim Banggu in Kota Bharu, from May 19 to June 1.

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