Friday, January 21, 2022

Govt to monitor Omicron effect before advising rulers on mosque SOPs

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says more time is needed for this before any decision is made.

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The health ministry says it will monitor the impact of the Omicron Covid-19 variant before advising the Conference of Rulers on SOPs at mosques.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry was aware of the matter as it had received many requests for the easing of SOPs at mosques, including allowing congregants to perform prayers without physical distancing.

“It’s not that we don’t want to allow this,” he said at a press conference today.

“We just need a few more weeks to determine the impact of Omicron before presenting any advice for the consent of the rulers.”

Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin recently questioned why mosques in Malaysia are still forced to abide by SOPs that have been eased in other places including stadiums, public transport and gatherings.

He said he was not against such SOPs but that there should be no double standards at work.

He also said a fatwa allowing Muslims to stand apart from each other during prayer can only be justified if the health ministry says that standing in close proximity could result in the spread of Covid-19.

“We relaxed it (the rule of standing in close proximity) because there was a strong reason,” he said.

“But that reason is not applied elsewhere, so why only for mosques?”

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