KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 – Each year, Muslims in the country will travel to their hometowns to welcome the month of Ramadan with their families.
The congested roads do not deter them, for as long as they get to eat sahur (pre-dawn meal), break the fast and perform the ‘tarawih’ prayers with their loved ones, at least on the first day of the Holy Month.
This year, however, things have changed as all Malaysians are now under the Movement Control Order (MCO) which is now in its third phase, imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The government has reminded the public that they are not permitted to travel to their hometowns during the MCO period. In addition, the Ramadan E-bazaars with the drive-through and ‘pack-and-go’ concepts are also not allowed.
Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has also said the police will set up roadblocks all over the country to enforce the MCO in view of the possibility that people may still travel back for Ramadan.
Everyone is subject to the standard operating procedure set by the National Security Council for the implementation of the MCO which also states that there can be no gathering or celebration involving many people.
These are part of the ‘new normal’ for how Ramadan will be spent. There will no longer be iftar (break-of-fast) feasts involving a large number of people as was the practice before.
Although the number of positive COVID-19 cases for the last few days have been double digits, efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve continue, and the public must realise that they have not been given a licence to violate the MCO.
Not even to go back to their hometowns for Ramadan. So just stay at home.
Do not forget that there are 11 temporary prisons which begin operations on April 23, one day before Ramadan is due to start, for anyone who does not comply with the MCO.
So the people have a choice – to either welcome Ramadan in the comfort of their homes, or to have a different experience this year by spending it in prison. You decide.