Deepavali, celebration, SOP

The SOPs vary depending on where each state stands in the phase of the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

Malaysia's Ministry of National Unity (Kementerian Perpaduan Negara) has released the standard operating procedures (SOP) to be complied with in light of the Deepavali celebration on 4 November 2021, as approved by the Special Committee Meeting on Pandemic Management No. 60 of 2021 (Series 122).

The SOPs vary depending on where each state stands in the phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP, or PPN).

As such, the following are the SOPs to mark the festival in temples (or non-Muslim houses of worship) in the context of the NRP:

For those in Phase Three of NRP

  • Religious activities and prayers in temples (or non-Muslim houses of worship) are allowed only for fully-vaccinated individuals.
  • Attendance limits are subject to the precise size of the prayer space, while taking into account one-metre safe distancing.
  • Religious activities are allowed specifically between the following duration:
    • 6.00 am to 2.00 pm
    • 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm
  • No dine-in is allowed at the temples (or non-Muslim houses of worship) - food is only allowed to be distributed in packages.

For those in Phase Four of NRP

  • Religious activities and prayers in temples (or non-Muslim houses of worship) are allowed only for fully-vaccinated individuals.
  • Attendance limits are subject to the precise size of the prayer space, while taking into account one-metre safe distancing.
  • Religious activities are allowed only during the allocation time period set out for prayers for non-Islamic religious activities.
  • No dine-in is allowed at the temples (or non-Muslim houses of worship) - food is only allowed to be distributed in packages.

Conditions for general activities (irrespective of the Phase in NRP) 

The following conditions apply to general activities in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration

a) Parade activities are not permitted.

b) Deepavali sales bazaar is allowed subject to the approval and control of the Local Authority.

c) Family home visits are allowed only for fully-vaccinated individuals in accordance with the respective cross-state approvals.

d) Visits to the cemetery are allowed only for fully-vaccinated individuals in accordance with the Funeral Management SOPs for non-Muslims per the respective Phases in the NRP.

With the release of the SOPs, Malaysia's Minister of National Unity, Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, called upon the Indian community in the nation to celebrate Deepavali in the context of the new norms set out in the SOPs, including wearing masks, practising good hygiene, and observing social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19.

"Hopefully this year’s Deepavali celebrations will bring a ray of happiness and health to all in the future," she added. 


States in Phase Three of the NRP include Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.
States in Phase Four currently include Federal Territories of Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Selangor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Johor and Melaka.


 Lead image / 123RF

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