KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Buddhists in the country celebrated Wesak Day on Wednesday (May 26) on a moderate scale with the new normal practices in place due to the nationwide movement control order.
Although devotees were not allowed to visit temples, the use of technology helped them participate in prayer services via online streaming, as carried out by the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association and the Bandar Utama Buddhist Society.
National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, in her Wesak Day message, said the peaceful Wesak celebration demonstrated that the people in the country enjoy freedom of religion, which has become a symbol of national unity.
"Efforts to embrace and cultivate noble values among today’s society should be further strengthened, especially when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Let us stand together in this fight against Covid-19. At the same time, we should take advantage of this opportunity to embody the true meaning of unity, ” she said.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, as well as several leaders, including Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, also extended their Wesak Day greetings to all Buddists in the country on social media.
Meanwhile, Buddhist temples in Penang were mostly empty on Wednesday despite it being Wesak Day, as the public are not allowed to take part in prayer activities.
Personnel from the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the police were seen conducting standard operating procedure (SOP) checks at the Mahindarama Buddhist Temple in George Town.
Penang Housing, Local Government and Town, and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who was met by reporters outside the temple, said that according to the SOP, only the temple’s head of principal and up to 10 committee members were allowed to conduct prayers inside the house of worship.
Meanwhile, Mahindarama Buddhist Temple representative Dr Surya Dharamdass urged the public to cooperate by adhering to the SOP and celebrate Wesak Day at home as the temple has made preparations for several activities such as the prayer and meditation retreat sessions to be conducted online.
A Bernama check in Ipoh, Perak found that most Buddhist temples were closed to the public following the implementation of the Enhanced MCO (EMCO) in the Hulu Kinta sub-district, covering Ipoh, Lahat, Chemor and Tanjong Rambutan in the Kinta district.
Prayer services at the Wat Siribunyamagaram Temple, Jalan Tambun in Ipoh were conducted in full compliance with the SOP with only 10 committee members allowed to participate. - Bernama