KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zulkifli Mohamad is reportedly deciding today on whether to postpone Muslim Friday prayers, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The de facto religious affairs minister yesterday said that there was no need to stop mass gatherings at mosques for Friday prayers, despite the Ministry of Health (MOH) advising against public gatherings.
Malaysiakini today quoted Zulkifli as saying that he has to consult with the MOH on the matter before ruling if Friday prayers can be replaced with Zohor prayers at home.
“I agree (on MOH’s advice against public gatherings) but we need a little more time to iron this out,” he said when met by reporters earlier this morning, according to Malaysiakini.
The former federal territories mufti also affirmed that a formal statement on the decision will be issued by noon before the start of Friday prayers today.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham reportedly said earlier this week that all mass gatherings should be postponed for the time being in an effort to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected 158 people in Malaysia.
His announcement comes after MOH’s initial revelation that some 10,000 people participated in a religious gathering at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, during which the coronavirus spread to Bruneian and Singaporean nationals who attended the mass.
Dr Noor Hisham posted yesterday that the Jhod Qudma’ & Ulama’ Malaysia 2020 (Ijtima’ Tabligh) event at the Sri Petaling mosque was actually attended by about 16,000 people, 14,500 of whom are Malaysians.