Johor sultan slams plans for Ramadan bazaars

JOHOR BAHRU, 2 April 2020:

Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today decreed it is unsuitable and inappropriate time to organise Ramadan bazaars during the fasting month this year as the country is currently at war with Covid-19.

His Majesty stressed that at such bazaars, the risk of having close contact with someone infected with Covid-19 is extremely high – which could have a negative impact on the overall health of the community.

“So, the organising of Ramadan bazaars this year is really inappropriate. New positive Covid-19 cases are still being reported every day, so I think it is unsuitable to organise Ramadan bazaar not only here in Johor, but also in other places, for the sake of people’s safety and health.

“Let’s just forget the Ramadan bazaar for now. I’m worried that if the spread of the virus goes rampant, it will also affect the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic,” the Sultan told the Royal Press Office (RPO) as posted in on its official Facebook page today.

Sultan Ibrahim also advised the people not to take lightly the directives issued by the authorities during this Movement Control Order (MCO).

“You see how the healthcare workers and the other frontliners working day and night to fight the pandemic. Imagine if the disease goes rampant, it will definitely affect the healthcare team and the entire healthcare system.”

Adequate social distancing will be near-impossible to achieve in this Covid-19 pandemic, given the popularity and congestion of Ramadan bazaars, according to the Academy of Medicine Malaysia.

In a statement, the group – comprising 11 colleges of various medical specialties – said close contact will inevitably occur in parking areas, en-route and between customers and vendors, and the premature easing of social distancing may potentially lead to the third wave of infections.

“Many sacrifices have been and continue to be made this year. The war against Covid-19 is far from over, and we will need to continue persevering in order to enjoy many more Ramadans to come. Losing this war is not an option.”

The statement came in response to Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa saying the management of Ramadan bazaars in the Federal Territories would be modified from this year to prevent congestion at the stalls.

While objecting strongly with any plan to hold Ramadan bazaars this year given the ongoing threat of Covid-19, the group suggested an online Ramadan bazaar with delivery services be promoted instead in order to reduce the risk of infections and to minimise the economic impact on petty traders.

– Bernama