Three main Hindu temples including the Batu Caves temple falling under the administration of the KL Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam will be opened for fully vaccinated devotees.
The move comes in light after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement on the relaxation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) on 8th August. Non-Muslim houses of worship are now allowed to operate under the National Recovery Plan (NRP) for Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3.
According to the National Unity Ministry, only up to 50 worshippers are allowed into a house of worship at one time. For Hindu temples, the first session is from 6am to 2pm and the second session is from 4pm to 10pm.
All states are under Phase Two of the NRP, with the exception of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, Melaka, and Putrajaya. Inter-district travel, tourism within the same state, dine-ins, and outdoor exercise were among the restrictions lifted in states under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan.
Additional restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals were lifted nationwide, including interstate and inter-district travel for parents to see their children under the age of 18, as well as prayers at houses of worship as per current SOPs.
However, the biggest question for many of us right now is:
Do we need these relaxations amid the constant rise of numbers in Malaysia’s daily COVID-19 cases ?
While there has been a considerable amount of dissatisfaction among the public over the government’s relaxation, health experts have urged the government to tighten the SOPs and not blindly rush into the re-opening of sectors and implementing the relaxation of SOPs.
According to The Star, Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah, president of the Malaysian Medical Practitioners Coalition Association, said it was still too early to relax restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated. For the time being, he recommends implementing the wait-and-see strategy. Individuals who have been fully vaccinated can still get infected, and even if their symptoms are minor, they may transmit the virus onto others who have not been fully vaccinated.
Perhaps, it’s also difficult to deploy or monitor solely fully vaccinated individuals. More manpower will be required, which might be better employed to oversee other COVID-19-related activities.
We need to bear in mind that:
Relaxation of the SOPs is playing with fire! Cases are bound to rise and more folks with fall ill.
Stay safe guys!