From Thursday (18 Mar), practically all activities in Malaysia have been cancelled, due to the nationwide lockdown and restricted movement order announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday (16 Mar).
This means that some peoples’ lives will literally have to be put on hold — apparently, weddings and funerals won’t be allowed during the lockdown period either, reported Malaysian newspaper The Star.
We covered the lockdown in greater detail in this article.
Sadly, couples who’ve been planning their dream spring wedding for months on end will have to put it on hold.
According to the Malaysian Health Ministry, weddings are not allowed as “they are social gatherings”.
The same goes for funerals — they’re not allowed until April either.
According to Malaysia’s Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, the staging of social gatherings are a criminal offence from 18 Mar to 31 Mar.
Thus, as weddings and funerals are considered social gatherings, they will be considered a criminal offence during this period.
If these activities go ahead, the violators would be deemed as defying the government’s Movement Control Order.
This could mean a fine, jail sentence of up to 2 years, or both, said the Health Ministry’s statement, which was disseminated via its Telegram channel.
All is not lost yet, apparently. The Malaysian National Security Council (NSC) has released an FAQ on the Movement Control Order, which states that weddings can go ahead under certain conditions.
According to the FAQ posted by The Rakyat Post, wedding ceremonies can be performed as long as they do not involve the public.
However, it advised organisers to postpone the reception and other ceremonies till the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia ends.
Hence, couples in Malaysia can get married if it’s a very small and private ceremony. That takes the fun away from it, somewhat, but if nobody minds a quiet wedding, that could be an option.
As for funerals, the NSC said that they could be held “with the closest relatives of the deceased and with the mosque/surau”.
They elaborated that only funeral prayers will be allowed. The tahlil, a long ritual where a crowd gathers to recite prayers for the deceased, will not be allowed.
This means that only a short series of prayers will be said for the deceased.
These arrangements are in the event that the deceased’s death has nothing to do with Covid-19.
Under the lockdown, all schools and institutions of higher learning, places of worship and even businesses will be closed from 18 Mar to 31 Mar. Only “essential services”, like utilities and health services, will be allowed to continue their operations.
The drastic action is already causing great difficulties for Malaysians who live in Johor but commute to Singapore daily to work or study, as they struggle to figure out what they will do for the rest of the month.
Restrictions on important life events like weddings is just the fly on top of the steaming mess that is Covid-19.
Hopefully, the lockdown isn’t extended, and Malaysians will be able to carry on with these important milestones as usual, soon.
These measures are trying, but they’re for the greater good. April seems like a long time from now, but it’ll be here before we know it.
Featured image adapted from Unsplash.
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