Malaysians celebrate Eid Al Fitr the new normal way

GEORGE TOWN: Md Ferdaus Md Taib,48, (left) welcomes his sister Hafizah, 43, to their family home here for the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebration. A dose of hand sanitizer first is however being used as she reaches the home where their mother Hajah Aishah Mohamad,80, stays at Kampung Dodol, Jalan Perak. Photo courtesy of BERNAMA.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Every year, it is common practice for Muslims throughout Malaysia to visit one another’s open house and celebrate Eid Al Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which marks the end of Ramadan, in a joyous way.

However, things are set to be different this year under the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and that practice has to be sacrificed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This includes having to forgo the usual rush to balik kampung (return to hometowns) due to the ban on interstate movement and open houses being allowed only on the first day of Raya which, even then, is limited to just 20 of the closest relatives at any one time.

Apart from that, the practice of visiting cemeteries also needs to be avoided while the congregation for Aidilfitri prayers have also been limited.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said public cooperation in complying with the SOP when ushering in 1 Syawal was very much needed to help break the chain of COVID-19 infection in the country.

But the public’s awareness on the need to break the chain of infection is evident, judging by the National Security Council’s (NSC) survey conducted on May 18, which showed that 74 percent of the 215,712 respondents chose not to receive any guests during the Aidilfitri celebration.

In fact, only 20 percent chose to celebrate Aidilfitri with closest relatives not from the same home while just six percent chose to celebrate it with relatives from afar as well as with their neighbours. 

Although the survey shows that the public prefers to celebrate Aidilfitri in a safe way, it doesn’t mean that the small number who are ready to welcome guests to their homes can simply go anywhere they want and pay no heed to the restrictions.

The public need to be reminded that in their excitement to celebrate 1 Syawal, they do not overdo it, lest the local authorities pay a visit to their homes for violating the SOP.

This is because the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) will continue to conduct patrols, regardless of the time during the festive season, and if there are many vehicles outside any homes, they will check the premises to see how many people are inside.

— BERNAMA