Dzulkefly: ‘Sheraton Move’ Cost Malaysia in Covid-19 Fight

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Malaysia’s fight against Covid-19 was hijacked by the Sheraton Move, causing a delay of two weeks.

Former health minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the tabligh event, which caused nearly half of all positive Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, could have been avoided if it wasn’t for the political crisis the country was facing.

As a result of the political coup on February 23 that caused the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, Dzulkefly said there was no political leadership in the government during that period.

He said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could only form a new cabinet on March 9.

“This has resulted in the loss of more than 2 weeks in the fight against Covid-29 – where there was no political leadership in the government.  

Dzulkelfy was responding to current health minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba’s accusations that the largest cluster of Covid-19 patients in Malaysia could have been prevented if the previous government managed the outbreak well.

In a conference call with Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday, Adham pointed out that by right Malaysia should only be having small clusters of Covid-19 infections if the tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling on February 27 had been prevented.

Adham claimed that the gathering took place from February 27 to March 3 when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in office.

“To set the record straight, the tabligh gathering was from February 28 to March 3, while Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned (as prime minister) on February 24, thus dissolving the cabinet.   

“But if there was any one minister who was aware of the tabligh gathering, it was the home minister which was Muhyiddin himself,” said Dzulkefly.

He said it was generally known that any large gathering, including religious ones such as Thaipusam or the floating chariot festival in Penang, came under the purview of the home ministry.

He wondered if Muhyiddin was focussed on a different agenda at that time.

“The health ministry should ask the prime minister why he allowed the tabligh gathering to take place.

“Maybe the eighth prime minister was not aware (of the tabligh gathering that was going to take place then) as there was a more serious agenda taking away his focus from work at the time,” Dzulkefly said.

Truly, it was so disappointing, but the focus to manage the Covid-19 crisis was hijacked by the ‘Sheraton Move’.”

Dzulkefly also said it was unfortunate that Adham chose to raise this issue at a time when the people were looking for strong leadership and a clearer narrative during the crisis.

He questioned if Adham was trying to distract the people from a controversy sparked by his deputy minister who had allegedly failed to observe social distancing at a function in Perak.

Dzulkefly said Adham should focus on Covid-19 instead of playing politics.

“Now is not the time for politics. It’s the time for everyone to come together to fight Covid-19.

“It is undeniable that Health Director-General (Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah) has performed excellently during the darkest political days in Malaysia,” Dzulkefly added.

Dr Adham Baba has come under heavy scrutiny for advising people to drink warm water to kill the Covid-19 virus.


In another blunder, he had revealed the name of a government staff member who had contracted Covid-19 and died, on his Facebook which drew the ire of citizens as medical records are meant to be confidential.