Mosques only for Malaysians for now, says Ismail Sabri

Mosques will be able to take in more people for congregational and Friday prayers once new SOPs are announced.

PUTRAJAYA: Senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said only Malaysians will be allowed to attend congregational and Friday prayers at mosques once rules are relaxed.

At his daily press briefing yesterday, he said mosques will be given permission to allow more people to attend congregational and Friday prayers subject to the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the rulers.

Asked by a reporter at today’s press briefing whether foreigners would be allowed to attend the prayers at mosques, Ismail said the rules did not apply to them.

“When we announced it yesterday, foreigners are not included. It’s only applicable to Malaysian citizens,” he said.

“Firstly, the number of Covid-19 positive cases is higher among foreigners. And secondly, of course we want to give priority to Malaysians. If the foreigners come until there is no space for our people, we cannot do that.

“For now, this is for Malaysians only and not foreigners.”

Mosques are currently only allowed to have a maximum of 30 people for Friday and congregational prayers, and Ismail said the revised restrictions will be subject to the size of the mosques and approval from the Agong and the rulers.

He had previously said that bigger mosques like Masjid Putrajaya could allow “maybe 200 to 300 people at a time” if social distancing of 1m was observed.

Ismail said the minister in charge of religious affairs will announce the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) after approval by the rulers.

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