Non-Muslim places of worship in Negri can reopen from June 23, but must apply

  • Nation
  • Friday, 19 Jun 2020

SEREMBAN: Non-Muslim places of worship in Negri Sembilan can start reopening from Tuesday (June 23), says state human resources, plantation and non-Islamic affairs committee chairman J. Arul Kumar.

However, he said the management committees of these places of worship would need to obtain written permission from his office before they started receiving worshippers.

Arul also said only places of worship in green and yellow zones would be allowed to re-open for now.

Those located in Rembau and Sendayan would remain closed.

"The committees will have to strictly adhere to all the SOPs announced by the authorities on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping everyone safe.

"And they are not to re-open until they get the necessary feedback or approval from us," he said, adding that those who wished to get a copy of the form could send a request to his number at 016-666 8207.

Arul said the committees had to formally apply to re-open as the state authorities did not have the information on the exact number of such premises in the state.

"Once we know who and where they are, the relevant agencies will be able to monitor if they were complying with the SOPs," he said, adding that there was likely between 450 and 500 such institutions.

Arul, the Nilai assemblyman, said the committees would only be allowed to receive one-third of the capacity of their prayer hall.

"Those who are unwell or have chronic ailments and children below 12 years would not be allowed in," he added.

He said counters should be set up at the entrances to record the details and body temperature of individuals entering the premises.

Only Malaysians are allowed in.

"The committees will not be allowed to hold wedding or engagement ceremonies, religious or cultural classes.

"Assemblies or processions inside and outside the place of worship are also prohibited," he said.

Arul said the worshippers would also not be allowed to eat at the premises and could only be served packed meals.

Members of the management committee, priests and other employees will also have to undergo health screening before they reopen.

"The committees can either send the application forms to my office personally, email or send through WhatsApp to my number," he said.

Applications would be processed within a day or two.

He said management committees of smaller places of worship can also submit their applications through the local chapters or parent bodies such as the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Malaysia Buddhist Association, Catholic Association of Negri Sembilan, Seremban Pastor Fellowship, Gurdwara Sahib Seremban and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship.

Action would be taken against committees or worshippers who do not follow the rules as the recovery movement control order was still in force, he said.

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