Keeping close watch on Ramadan bazaars


A Rela member showing the card numbering system used to control the crowd at the Ramadan bazaar in Queen Street, Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

ON the first day of the fasting month, customers rushed in and crowded into the Ramadan bazaar at Queen Street in George Town, Penang.

“They were probably worried that the food at the bazaar may finish early, ” said Penang Muslim League deputy president Datuk Shahul Hameed Syed Mohamed, who is also the bazaar organising advisor.

“We only allow 40 customers at any one time and when it is too crowded, the customers will have to line up and wait outside the bazaar entrance.

“Rela members, policemen, MBPP enforcers and our own members are deployed to make sure that the standard operating procedures are adhered to.”

Shahul assured that his team took necessary efforts to ensure that the SOPs are followed.

“After seeing the crowded situation on the first day, we improvised and made it better, ” Shahul added.

He was speaking to reporters after Penang police chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan visited the bazaar on Thursday to check on the SOP compliance.

“There might have been a large crowd on the first day, but after rounds made by the police, Rela and city council enforcers, everything is now under control, ” Comm Sahabudin said after inspecting the vicinity.

He warned that Penang police would recommend the closure of any Ramadan bazaar if found that the SOPs are being ignored.

“At present, Ramadan bazaars in Penang are under control.

“We will advise the Penang Island City Council and Seberang Prai City Council to take stern action, including closing the bazaars if necessary.

“This may be our last resort if the SOPs are not followed and if organisers are unable to control the crowd causing continuous SOP violations.

“I hope that bazaar organisers and visitors will follow the SOPs so that we can observe the fasting month accordingly and business can continue, ” he said.

Also present was George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the coming one to two weeks would be crucial to determine the Covid-19 situation in the country.

“We were seeing a downward trend, but the number of positive cases is on the rise since a week ago.

“With the flexibility given to allow Ramadan bazaars to operate this year, I hope that the public will adhere strictly to the SOPs for the situation to be under control.

“This is equally important to allow businesses to stay afloat, ” he said during the Sinar Ramadan 2021 Campaign launch at Jen Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La’s on Wednesday.

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