Fate of this year’s Ramadan bazaars still up in the air, says minister

Jerry Choong
Several state governments, including Melaka, Kedah, Selangor and Terengganu, have cancelled Ramadan bazaars out of concern it could aggravate the transmission of Covid-19. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — There have been no formal discussions yet on the government level as to whether the annual Ramadan bazaars ought to be cancelled nationwide, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said although Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Federal Territories Ministry have each submitted their views and recommendations on the matter, the special ministerial committee meeting has not yet brought it up.

“We think it is still too early to discuss, although we thank DBKL for forwarding its proposals. They will be looked at in detail,” Ismail Sabri said during a press conference.

The minister added it is also necessary to obtain the Health Ministry’s views on Ramadan bazaars being held, to see if they can continue or if they should be cancelled altogether in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s fasting month is expected to begin on April 23 and will end on May 23. The ongoing extended movement control order (MCO) will set to expire on April 14.

Several state governments, including Melaka, Kedah, Selangor and Terengganu, have since cancelled Ramadan bazaars out of concern it could aggravate the transmission of Covid-19.

Some have also announced aid for those whose livelihoods will be disrupted by the cancellations. Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said yesterday the state government will put aside RM9.5 million for some 20,000 B40 small traders and hawkers along with their families.

Similarly, an online petition to the Health Ministry, which began on Tuesday, and urging it to stop the bazaars on health and safety grounds, has gained increased traction, with nearly 50,000 signatures gathered as of yesterday night.

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