THE SULTAN Mosque was gazetted as the national heritage of Singapore in 1975. It receives between 600 and 700 visitors daily. On weekends, the number rises to 1,000. This also means that an average of 5,000 visitors visit the Sultan Mosque in a week.
However, since the coronavirus outbreak hit Singapore, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Administrators of the Sultan Mosque had an immediate discussion. The country confirmed their first coronavirus case on 23 January. On the eve of Chinese New Year last Friday (24 January), the committee unanimously agreed to stop receiving tourists.
According to a news report by BERITAmediacorp, the decision was enforced since last Saturday (25 January).
Signages were put up at all entrances to the mosque which read, “Closed for tour visits until further notice. Muslim congregants are welcomed for prayers. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
The Manager of Sultan Mosque, Zainal Abidin Omar said, the board of administrators of the mosque took the immediate prevention measures to ensure that the congregation and its staff are safe and at the same time, to avoid the spread of the disease.
“We are concerned. We have many members. I think there are more than 1,000 people each time we pray. The number is even greater for the Friday prayers. Last week, the mosque was full,” Zainal said.
MEANWHILE, a different approach was taken by the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, the administration centre of Malaysia. The mosque was closed to tourists last Sunday as a prevention to the 2019 novel coronavirus. However, it has been reopened.
The spokesperson of the mosque said, the staff would practice the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health as their preventive measures towards the coronavirus infection.
“The Putra Mosque was closed earlier to tourists following the concerns towards the safety of our staff as we receive many foreign visitors daily.
“Starting from today, the staff will follow the advise of the Health Ministry, such as putting on face mask and using hand sanitizers,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Earlier, several mosques which are also tourist attractions such as the Putra Mosque and the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque in Putrajaya and the Wilayah Persekutuan Mosque in Kuala Lumpur were reported closed for tour visits following the coronavirus outbreak.
However, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported saying yesterday that he regretted the order as it was not the policy of the government.
Honestly, we are unsure of which decision is better.
Did the Sultan Mosque took the right decision? Was Putra Mosque better at their judgement?
There would be pros and cons towards the decisions made. The community too have their own share of opinion on the closing and opening of these two houses of worship.
The safety and welfare of the people should always come first. -MalaysiaGazette