Big drop in donations

Worshippers at Friday prayers at Masjid Stulang Laut Johor Baru. Prayer halls are limited to one-third of their capacity.

JOHOR BARU: Donations received from mosque congregations at the weekly Friday prayers have plummeted following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) in March.

Masjid Stulang Laut Johor Baru chairman Md Salleh M. Noor said donations from the worshippers collected during the weekly Friday prayers prior to the MCO was about RM2,000 a week.

He said the sum had declined due to rules limiting the number of worshippers to one-third of the prayer hall capacity.

“The money collected on Fridays since the recovery MCO amounts to only about RM600 a week,’’ said Md Salleh.

He said the first two phases of the MCO were the most difficult as weekly Friday prayers were not allowed.

He explained that the mosque sets aside RM5,000 monthly to pay the allowances of two imams, two muezzins and a noja (maintenance officer).

“The mosque committee is grateful as these five have volunteered to forgo their monthly allowances since the MCO in March,” Md Salleh said.

Masjid India Johor Baru secretary Habib Rahman Sha said donations received during the weekly Friday prayers now came up to between RM800 and RM1,000.

“Prior to the one-third ruling limiting the number of worshippers at mosques, our Friday prayers’ collection was around RM1,800 to RM2,000,” he said.

Habib said the average number of worshippers for the Friday prayers during the recovery MCO was about 200 people, down from 350 pre-Covid-19.

He said most of the people who made up the congregation at the 60-year-old mosque located in Jalan Duke here were workers from downtown Johor Baru.

“Our mosque is also popular with Muslim workers from a nearby waterfront development project,” said Habib.

Masjid Felda Taib Andak Kulai deputy chairman Osman Moen said about 500 people would turn up for the weekly Friday prayers at the mosque prior to the MCO.

“They comprise Felda settlers and our monthly collection was about RM4,000, of which RM2,000 was used to pay electricity and water bills,” he said, adding that the money collected had since halved.

Osman explained that they would wait to assess the financial situation and take the necessary action.

He said under normal circumstances the mosque committee would be busy making preparations to mark Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on Oct 29.

“It really worries us as the number of Covid-19 cases is on the rise lately and hopefully, we will not face another round of the MCO,’’ added Osman.

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