By John Isaac
CHIEF Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has called on the Muslim community to be careful and to abide by all standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) through the Sarawak Islamic Council (MIS) when celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year.
He said this included complying with guidelines pertaining to activities such as Takbir Hari Raya, Solat Sunat Aidilfitri and so on.
“Activities which are not allowed include banquets after Solat Aidilfitri at mosques and surau, takbir from house to house, and open houses,” he said in his Hari Raya Aidilfitri message as reported in New Sarawak Tribune.
Abang Johari urged celebrants to avoid visiting graves, gathering in groups which made physical distancing difficult, and travelling from one zone to another without permission from the police, particularly from red zones.
“In zones or areas where the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) is being implemented, Solat Sunat Aidilfitri, Hari Raya visiting, and grave visiting are not permitted,” he said.
Despite their desires to celebrate with families and friends and to have prayers for the departed, he pointed out that during the current pandemic, religious teachings encouraged people to give priority to health and safety for the sake of wellbeing.
The chief minister advised celebrants to refer to the latest and detailed information issued by SDMC on the SOPs for the safety of all.
Abang Johari said this was the second time that the Muslim community had to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri with restrictions in place.
“The challenge is great for Muslims. Nevertheless, I believe that the constraints we have to face will not weaken our commitment to attain as much forgiveness and blessings as possible during this month of Ramadan,” he said.
At the same time, he also called on Sarawakians of various races, ethnicities, religions, and political inclinations to maintain high moral standards and to strengthen the culture of mutual respect for one another.
“The unity of our people is very important not only in good times but also when our state is facing disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is not the time for us to be divided or to quarrel with each other although the government remains ready to accept different and constructive views,” he said.
Abang Johari urged people to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri with the spirit of goodwill and brotherhood among humankind regardless of religious and racial differences even under the current challenging circumstances.
He also said that, similar to last year, he and his wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang could not hold an open house to receive visitors this year. Nonetheless, he assured that the people would be in their thoughts.
“In conjunction with this auspicious day, my wife, my family and I wish all Muslims, especially to Sarawakians, wherever they may be, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin,” he said.