Crowd control, social distancing among SOPs proposed for Hindu temples

The proposed SOPs for the reopening of Hindu temples include limiting the number of devotees and time spent, and a separate entrance and exit.

PETALING JAYA: Hindu temples have sent their proposed standard operating procedures (SOPs) to the National Security Council (NSC) for their reopening, including crowd control and social distancing.

Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president RS Mohan Shan said the recommendations took into account the guidelines provided by the health ministry.

He said the NSC was studying the proposals.

On crowd control, Mohan said the association had proposed limiting the number of devotees to the size of the temple. “We have some measurements for that.”

He said there would be no human contact and the priests and devotees would have to maintain a 1m distance from each other.

Normally, devotees were required to wash their hands and feet before entering the temples and, as an added precaution, temple managements would be asked to make hand sanitisers available.

“Devotees must also wear masks. This is compulsory.”

Mohan said each temple would have a single entrance and exit to prevent people from bumping into each other.

He said there would be a time limit for devotees, usually about 30 minutes, with an extra 10 to 15 minutes for meditation. “They can’t stay too long. They must leave after their prayers.”

Food can only be packed and taken home and would not be served inside the temples.

Mohan said the association had also requested temple managements to appoint administrators to ensure the SOPs were complied with.

He said the temples were facing a shortage of funds because of the movement control order (MCO). “A lot of devotees are also asking us if they can go to the temple,” he said.

He said human contact was not an issue as this was usually only a requirement for wedding rites.

“The couple getting married would ask for blessings from their parents. Sometimes, there would be touching of feet. But, for the moment, we are not including weddings yet. We will wait and see,” he said.

Yesterday, the nationaI unity ministry said SOPs for the reopening of non-Muslim houses of worship would be finalised by tomorrow and presented to the NSC for discussion on Tuesday.

This followed an online meeting between the minister, Halimah Mohamed Sadique, and officials of organisations representing such religions as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and Sikhism.

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