Would holding a Ramadan Bazaar be too soon after MCO?

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Apr 1: Should the Ramadan Bazaar be allowed to operate on Apr 24 which is expected to be the beginning of the fasting month?

According to Assistant Minister to Kuching North City Council (DBKU) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, if the Movement Control Order (MCO) was extended to the end of April, then the Ramadan Bazaar for DBKU would be cancelled.

“It will depend on the directive of the Sarawak Government. If the MCO is extended throughout the month of April, then Ramadan Bazaar will be cancelled for DBKU,” Dr Abdul Rahman told Dayakdaily.

Kuching South City Council mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng when contacted said the decision had yet to be made as it will depend on the overall situation of Covid-19 in Sarawak. The priority, according to him, was the health and safety of the people.

“Between now and then, there are still three more weeks to go. We will get the feedback from heads of divisions and councillors. Then we will see what is the Sarawak government’s consideration, and we will make a decision then,” said Wee.

He said the MCO had been extended for two more weeks and that by the end of Apr 14, it meant Sarawakians had spent one month at home in the fight against Covid-19.

“We also don’t want the one-month effort of Sarawakians fighting Covid-19 to be wasted. That being said, no one can foresee what will happen in the next three weeks. We will see how the situation fares first, before making a decision.

“There will be no compromise on the health and safety of the people,” Wee stressed.

Meanwhile, DayakDaily reader Jonathan Chai believed that in the interest of public health and safety, Ramadan Bazaar should not be allowed to operate like before.

“I think the Ramadan Bazaar should not go on this year even on the assumption that the spread of Covid-19 would be under control by the end of the MCO on April 14.

“Our Muslim friends will have their fasting month 10 days from then, we would still be in the critical time to contain the outbreak of the pandemic as the specialists around the world have already expressed their concerns of the possibility of resurgence of the outbreak after the initial containment of the virus.

“We must always place our health as the top priority as life is precious and we do not want to see the efforts of MCO go down the drain and be wasted by an insensible decision.

“However, in the event if the local authorities decide to proceed with the Ramadan Bazaar, they must make sure that all the guidelines – especially social distancing – will be strictly observed and there must be enough manpower to oversee and regulate the public order,” said Chai. —DayakDaily