KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Compulsory Muslim Friday prayers will proceed today using the guidelines to minimise the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) issued yesterday, Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad said.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department overseeing Islamic Affairs said the decision was reached after consulting the Yang diPertuan Agong today.
“After receiving the consent of Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Friday prayers in the Federal Territories today will proceed with the following guidelines,” he said in a statement.
The guidelines include shortening the length of the sermons, for ablutions to be performed at home rather than within mosques, and for those showing symptoms of illness to abstain from attending the weekly prayer sessions.
Mosques and the congregants are also obliged to have hand sanitisers and masks available to prevent the spread of the disease.
This announcement comes after other ministries and agencies instructed for the postponement or cancellation of mass gatherings due to Malaysia’s deteriorating Covid-19 situation.
The country recorded nine more cases yesterday, bringing Malaysia's total to 158.
This morning, the Perlis Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (MAIPs) directed Muslims not to perform Friday prayers in the state’s mosque in response to the Health Ministry’s recommendation to avoid mass gatherings.
Earlier, the Education Ministry also directed its schools to postpone such events while the Sports Commissioner ordered the indefinite suspension of all sporting events in the country.
Attention befell mass gatherings after it was discovered that an event held at a mosque in Sri Petaling earlier this month included attendees who have since tested positive for Covid-19.
Initially thought to have been attended by 10,000 people including 5,000 Malaysians, health authorities have now concluded that up to 14,500 Malaysians were at the event.
The event has also been pinpointed as the source of new Covid-19 cases in neighbouring Singapore and Brunei, with the latter being the first cases ever to be reported in the country.