By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
Police conducted a spot check at a Selangor gurdwara yesterday (2 Aug) to ensure attendees were wearing masks and following other requirements now under force in the nation’s battle against the novel coronvirus pandemic.
No fines were issued. Instead the police had advised those present at the gurdwara to observe the Covid-19 measures.
“They had checked the names of the list of attendees with those present in the Darbar Sahib and issued reminder to comply with the SOP including wearing of masks,” Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) president Jagir Singh said in a statement shared via the social media.
Effective 1 Aug, Malaysia had made it mandatory to wear a face mask when using public transportation and in “crowded” public spaces. Those who flout the order could risk being fined RM1,000 (US$235).
“Thus the Gurdwara Committees are reminded to have the SOP in place including the new ruling effective from 1/08/2020 requiring wearing of masks,” he said.
Gurdwaras in Malaysia are now open for prayers and visitation. On March 18, Malaysia rolled out a movement control order (MCO) that required all places of religious worship, including gurdwaras, to cease all prayer gatherings.
On June 10, Malaysia allowed selected places of worship to operate under strict conditions. The permission has since been extended to all gurdwaras.
In his note, Jagir said all gurdwaras should ensure that the SOP was in place and observed as non-compliance may result in a fine or summon.
He listed out the SOP in force:
- Physical distancing of at least 1 metre to be enforced, with signboards to be put up outside the Darbar Sahib (prayer hall) and at the Langgar hall. Wherever possible to put markings on the floor in suitable places.
- To setup a counter table where record book is kept for Sanggat (congregation) members to write their names and contact numbers. A thermometer must also be available to take temperature of Sanggat members and all those attending the gurdwara programme.
- Those who are above 70 years old may attend provided do not have serious health problems. Some SOP say senior citizens without stipulating the age.
- The sanitizer should be made available at the point of entry or at the registration counter.
- Those serving degh and all other sewadars doing sewa must wash thoroughly their hands with soap and water. During this Covid 19 period degh may also be served using a spoon.
- Those preparing or serving Laggar must wear masks all the time. Langgar to be served to Sanggat while seated. No serving of buffet style.
- The prepared Langgar must be put in clean and sterilised utensils. To observe absolute cleanliness all the time.
- Those who have symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat should not attend but seek medical treatment.
“The Places of worship enjoy the right under the Constitution to ‘manage its own religious affairs. But by Article 11(5) this right is subject to general law relating to ‘ public order, public health or morality’. The SOP are issued under’ public order, public health ‘exception to religious right to manage our own affairs,” he added.
Is Covid-19 really a big deal for gurdwaras? (Asia Samachar, 30 May 2020)
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