By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 21: Non-Muslim houses of worship located in the green zone will be allowed to open starting June 10 for one or two days a week for important religious events only.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob pointed out, however, that these houses of worship will be required to fully comply with stringent guidelines and standard operating procedure (SOP).
“The Minister of National Unity Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique has in today’s special meeting tabled the SOP for non-Muslim houses of worship (for its reopening) following discussions with relevant religious leaders and associations,” he told a press conference on Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Putrajaya today.
Under the SOP, Ismail informed that the houses of worship were allowed to be opened for one or two days in the week for the important religious events of their respective religions. Wedding ceremonies were still not allowed.
“Christians for example, they need to go church on Sunday and as such, churches are only allowed to open on Sunday only.
“While Hindu, Buddhist and other religions may observe certain days in the week to practice their faiths but we only allow them to open for one or two days for important days only,” he explained.
Ismail also stated that no more than 30 visitors were allowed in the houses of worship but it was subject to the size of their premises.
“However, only Malaysian citizens are allowed to visit while elderly worshippers and children are not allowed at all.
“Other basic guidelines include taking body temperature of worshippers, readying hand sanitisers and wearing face masks must be followed at all time,” he said.
He informed that a total of 174 houses of worship nationwide had been approved to reopen including 84 Hindu temples, 15 Buddhist temples, 67 churches and eight Sikh gurdwaras.
“The reopening will be done in stages as this figure only involved 1 per cent of the total houses of worships in the country.
“The Ministry of National Unity will collaborate with the state government and local authorities to coordinate the implementation of the opening of houses of worship,” he added.—DayakDaily