Najib’s supporters raise fears of new cluster

It is sad to see the lack of self-control in this situation, health DG tweeted


CROWD gathering outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday to support Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak irked netizens and raised fears of a new Covid-19 cluster.

“Najib” tops the list on Malaysia’s Twitter trends with over 97,000 tweets, mostly about the verdicts on his charges and a smattering number addressing the lack of social distancing among the crowd.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, responding to Bernama’s tweet on the concern over a new cluster, expressed his sadness at the accompanying image of the crowd.

“The Health Ministry has, very clearly, daily, reminded Malaysians to abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the one-meter social distancing, wearing face masks and to wash their hands frequently.

“It is sad to see the lack of self-control in this situation,” he tweeted.

Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre associate professor and rheumatologist Dr Sargunan Sockalingam expressed his concern on the social media platform.

“Zero physical distance and allegedly not all wearing masks! We are still amid a pandemic! What could be so important that safety is neglected?” he posted on his Twitter account @drsargunan.

It was later reported that security personnel were present to ensure and remind the crowd to adhere to the SOPs and social distancing.

Osel Group Medical Director and Chief Clinical Scientist Dr Kris See said for high-profile court cases such as this, it would be certain that there would be a lot of public supporters and crowd gathering at the courthouse.

“However, technically speaking, we are still under the Recovery Movement Control Order and judging from regional perspectives, where a few of our neighbouring countries are battling a second and third wave of Covid-19, we should always be in mind the importance of adhering to SOPs and social distancing,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur consultant respiratory physician Dr Helmy Haja Mydin said the presence of senior citizens, who are more susceptible to Covid-19 was particularly disturbing to see among the gatherers.

“While Malaysians wait for the verdict with bated breath, viruses could not care less and would instead cherish the opportunity to take away one’s breath,” he said.

“These situations also confuse people. They are told to take all the necessary precautions to stem the pandemic, but at the same time these sorts of gatherings are allowed without proper SOPs being adhered to,” he said.

As of 1pm, the authorities asked Najib’s supporters, over 3,000 of them, to disperse.

However, Socialist Party of Malaysia secretary general A Sivarajan questioned whether Najib’s supporters had delivered a notice in accordance with the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 to the police.

“We respect the rights for all to hold a peaceful assembly but the police must practise it fairly,” he said.