Martin VengadesanPublished 4:04 pmA+
The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) has responded to the partial opening of non-Muslim places of worship on June 10 by saying that the group has decided to continue to keep churches closed until the movement control order (MCO) is lifted. In an immediate response to this afternoon’s announcement by Defence Minster Ismail Sabri Yaakob, CCM general secretary Rev Hermen Shastri (photo) said his grouping, which includes Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Syrian Christian and Presbyterian, would not resume service.
“The heads of churches of our council have decided to continue to keep churches closed until the MCO is lifted and there is an assurance from the Health Ministry that Covid-19 no longer poses a threat to the public.
“Whether that will be on June 10 will be reviewed judiciously when the time comes,” said Shastri.
Currently, the conditional MCO has been extended until June 9.
“We seek to prioritise the safety of our people as our paramount spiritual duty. The current situation is still precarious and volatile.
“In keeping with our spiritual obligations and social responsibility, we shall continue to pray and worship at our homes, and also offer online streaming of our worship services on Sundays,” he added.
He added that the CCM would like to salute the frontliners who are working tirelessly and selflessly to keep the rest of us safe.
“Stay at home. Pray at home, and let us carry one another’s burden for the good of the nation,” said Shastri.
Ismail had earlier said 174 temples, churches and gurdwaras in green zones around the country would be permitted to open to groups of not more than 30 provided that SOPs were followed.
The ruling announced by Ismail also said non-Malaysians would not be allowed to attend the services and that senior citizens, 70 years and above, and children, 12 and below, would not be allowed to attend.
Churches, temples in green zones to reopen on June 10 subject to SOP
FMT Reporters -May 21, 2020 2:50 PM1.
PUTRAJAYA: Non-Muslim houses of worship in green zones will be allowed to reopen from June 10 onwards, subject to strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said these include an age limit barring those above 70 and below 12 from entering the premises.
A maximum of 30 people will be allowed at any given time, fewer for smaller temples or churches.
“Only Malaysians will be allowed, and premises will only be allowed to open on important days,” he added at his daily briefing here today.
For example, he said, churches can open on Sundays while Hindu and Buddhist temples can also open once or twice a week depending on their prayer days.
Congregants must also have their temperatures scanned, and use face masks and hand sanitiser.
Ismail said the SOPs were established following discussions between the government and religious leaders.
So far, 174 religious premises have been given the green light to reopen.
Of these, 84 are Hindu and Buddhist temples, 15 are Chinese temples, 67 are churches and eight are gurdwaras.