No Ramadan bazaars in several states across Malaysia this year


KOTA KINABALU: The government of Sabah, the second largest of the 13 states of Malaysia, will not hold the traditional Ramadan bazaars this year in additional efforts to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is likely to join several other Malaysian states, including Kedah, Selangor, Terengganu and Melaka,that earlier this week  have announced that Ramadan bazaars will be cancelled this year to avoid mass gatherings.

State Secretary Safar Untong said the ruling was in line with the government’s decision to prohibit the ‘tamu’ and farmer’s market, Bernama news agency reported.

“The state government will make an official announcement regarding this matter and the standard operating procedure (SOP) for every activity to be carried out in the state,” he told reporters.

Safar said the state government was now in the process of finalising the SOP, including the operation hours of every supermarket in the state, to ensure the outbreak would be totally contained.

“If previously the SOP and the operation hours were not standardised, now we want to standardise them, for example, in supermarkets; every worker and shopper must wear face masks and use the sanitiser,” he said.

In Malaysia, Ramadan bazaars are a big cultural and economic opportunity for households and are known for attracting large crowds.

Ramadan, the month during which Muslims fast by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise until sunset, is expected to start on April 24. The month is based on the lunar calendar that consists of 354 days.

According to Bernama, 28 quarantine centres have been established in Sabah to isolate individuals suspected to be positive COVID-19 and avoid the risk of infecting others.

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