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Be mindful of SOPs during Aidilfitri, says PM

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 23/5/2020 Adib Povera
a screen shot of Muhyiddin Yassin: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded Malaysians to observe and comply with the standard operating procedures. -Pic source RTM © Provided by New Straits Times Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded Malaysians to observe and comply with the standard operating procedures. -Pic source RTM

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded Malaysians to observe and comply with the standard operating procedures of the

Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) during this year's Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

The Covid-19 pandemic, he said, has heralded numerous changes for Muslims in Malaysia, not just during Aidilfitri but also the recently-concluded month of Ramadan.

"Ramadan this year was somewhat different. If we used to perform terawih prayers in a congregation at the surau or mosque, this time we did it at home with our family. We've also refrained from rubbing shoulders at Ramadan bazaars or at 'buka puasa' events. Instead, we broke our fast, prepared by our wife or mother, in moderation," he said in a televised address tonight.

He said there are blessings to be had from such situations as it has managed to bring families even closer.

"After a month of 'terawih' prayers at home, many fathers are now capable imams. Sons are now bilals. With what has been practiced throughout this Ramadan, I believe that the love between family members have grown stronger," he said.

The prime minister said although Malaysians will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri under very different conditions this year, it does not mean that it should be any less festive.

"This year's Aidilfitri festivities will definitely be different. Opportunities to visit family members and loved ones will be limited. There will be no open houses or 'kenduri' to attend and mingle with relatives.

"However, it doesn't mean that it is any less festive. Create that atmosphere of festivity and joy with our own family members," he said.

He also urged Malaysians to observe by the SOP, such as limiting family guests to only 20 people per day for Raya visits.

"Discuss with your siblings and relatives on who can come to your house," he said.

Muhyiddin also urged everyone to practice social distancing and avoid physical contact during Raya visits.

"Take care of our aging mother, father and grandmother. They are more vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.

"It is alright if we do not 'salam' or kiss them this year. It doesn't mean that we do not love them. On the contrary, it means we are for them enough to not risk any physical contact with them," he said.

Muhyiddin also advised the people against gathering in confined spaces and to observe personal hygiene.

"Distance yourself from your guests, wash your hand after every visit, and for the host, clean your house immediately. "Also, do avoid visiting cemeteries as they normally become crowded during Raya," he said.

Muslims who are allowed to perform 'solat jemaah' (congregation prayers) at the mosques and surau, he said, must follow the guidelines.

"Perform your ablutions at home, comply with the body temperature screening procedures and bring your own prayer mats to the mosque.

"Normally, the imam would tell the congregation to 'rapatkan saf' (narrow the gap in the prayer lines). Not this time around. This time, the imam will remind you to do the reverse.

This is for the best. And there is no need to 'salam' among each other after the prayer," he said.

All these steps, said the prime minister, were crucial in order to curtail the spread of Covid-19 during the Aidilfitri celebration.

"As I have mentioned before, in some countries Covid-19 cases escalated after festive celebrations. We want to make sure that doesn't happen here.

As such, we must exercise caution as prevention is better than cure," he said.

The government's decision on its Raya SOP, he said, was based on the principles of 'maqasid shariah', which is to save lives.

"We need to sacrifice a little tradition or regular norms in order to prevent Covid-19 infection and in turn, save the lives of those around us."

Muhyiddin reiterated his message that it is crucial for everyone for play their part to ensure the nation's success in the fight against Covid-19

"Our sense of responsibility will determine our success. If we adhere to the SOPs, we will have fulfilled our responsibility.

"No one is more capable of this responsibility than ourselves. We have to remind each other of these things as part of our shared responsibility. Only when this becomes the norm can the government decide on when the CMCO will no longer be necessary."

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