More people allowed to attend prayers in mosques, suraus in FT

Mosques and suraus will only be allowed to fill a third of the hall’s capacity for now.

PUTRAJAYA: More people will be allowed to attend Friday and congregational prayers from tomorrow at mosques in the federal territories.

In a press conference, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said mosques and suraus will only be allowed a third of its hall’s capacity to be filled for now.

He added this is also applicable to mosques in other states, subject to the discreton of the respective state religious authorities.

He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had approved the easing of restrictions and guidelines drawn up by the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia (MKI).

“For example, if a particular prayer hall can fit 1,000 people at a time, then only 333 people are allowed to be in the hall at one time,” he said.

Senior citizens may attend prayers although children, 12 years and below, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases, will not be allowed.

The mosque and surau committees may appoint volunteers from among congregants to help control the crowd before and after the prayers.

Zulkifli said the capacity could be increased in stages, depending on the current Covid-19 situation and advice from the health ministry and National Security Council.

“The government and state religious authorities are being careful in reopening activities in mosques and suraus in Malaysia.

“We don’t want to rush into a decision that could lead to various unwanted consequences.”

Zulkilfi said certain areas in mosques will remain open for those who might want to drop by to pray, particularly e-hailing drivers and riders.

He also said the Maghrib and Subuh sermons may now resume, subject to several conditions, adding that the complete guidelines will be issued by the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi).

He added that the national unity minister is working on similar restrictions to be eased for non-Muslim houses of worship.

He reminded Muslims to practise social distancing when inside and outside mosques, reminding them to perform their ritual ablutions before coming.

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