KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Although it’s just the second day of fasting, the issue of non-compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) at Ramadan bazaars has raised concerns for fearing it could cause the emergence of new COVID-19 clusters.
Yesterday, photos and videos of patrons flocking to the Ramadan bazaars and ignoring the physical distancing rules when buying dishes for iftar there created buzz on social media.
The situation has also gained the attention of Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In a statement today, he announced that effective today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has authorised mayors, presidents of local councils (PBTs) and Grade 19 enforcement officers to issue compounds for offences under Act 342, including SOP violations at Ramadan bazaars.
“The National Security Council (MKN) has received several complaints from the public on non-compliance with SOPs at Ramadan bazaars in several locations in Malaysia.
“The matter is viewed seriously because the spread of COVID-19 is still at a worrying level. In this regard, local authorities are urged to take appropriate action in ensuring the SOPs issued by the MKN and MOH are strictly adhered to,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Bernama check at several Ramadan bazaars nationwide today found that the level of SOP compliance was satisfactory.
However, there were still some Ramadan bazaar goers who have yet to fully complied with the SOPs set.
A check at the Taman Melawati Ramadan bazaar here found that visitors started thronging the bazaar as early as 4 pm.
Murtabak seller, Muhd Zaim Mohd Zaki, 18, said most of visitors at the bazaar adhered to the SOPs, including by keeping the one-metre distance of physical distancing when queueing and wearing a face mask.
In TERENGGANU, despite the long queue, visitors at Ramadan bazaars at Dataran Shahbandar, Batu Buruk, and near the drawbridge in Kuala Terengganu were seen patiently waiting for their turn to check-in via the MySejahtera mobile application and have their body temperature checked.
The presence of several police and Rela personnel at the Ramadan bazaars was also seen as an effective way of reminding visitors to always keep their physical distance when buying food and drinks.
In PENANG, visitor at the Jalan Tenggiri Seberang Jaya Ramadan bazaar Nor Amin Hassan, 34, said the organiser has provided separate entrances and exits, with each of them being equipped with the MySejahtera QR code and thermal scanner.
“I can see that visitors are getting used to the new norms as they will scan the MySejahtera QR code and have their body temperature checked before entering, besides wearing a face mask,” he said.
In JOHOR, a check found that a popular Ramadan bazaar in Johor Bahru had unsatisfactory SOP compliance level.
There were some who were found ignoring the SOPs by not observing physical distance when buying food at the stalls.
Children and senior citizens were also seen coming to the bazaar, even though they are not encouraged to visit crowded areas.
In PERLIS, a check at Ramadan bazaars at Taman Sena Indah, Titi Chai and Gual Sami found that there were still many who did not comply with the SOPs.
Perlis police chief Datuk Surina Saad said although Perlis has been categorised as a green zone state, the SOPs set by the MOH should not be viewed lightly, especially in public places.
“I have instructed all district police chiefs to beef up monitoring to ensure public compliance with the SOPs and the state remains a green zone,” she said.
In MELAKA, in en effort to prevent the public from crowding at Ramadan bazaars in the state, a coupon system will be used for those who want to enter the bazaar.
Organiser of Taman Rambai Jaya and Taman Rambai Utama Ramadan bazaars Ismail Adnan said other preventive measures taken were hiring Rela personnel to help monitor the situation and ensure visitors comply with the SOPs.
“Starting today, each patron will be given a special ‘coupon’ for the purpose of monitoring the number of visitors to the Ramadan bazaars,” he said.