Malaysia marks Eid amid Covid decline
Kuala Lumpur, May 2 (IANS) Muslims across Malaysia on Monday celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr as the Covid-19 situation in the country continues to improve.
After having endured lockdowns and travel restrictions, crowds thronged streets, malls and markets in Kuala Lumpur, celebrating the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid al-Fitr holidays, while others were finally able to make the traditional exodus of "Balik Kampung" or people returning to hometowns, reports Xinhua news agency.
In a televised speech on Monday, King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah called on the people to observe good health practices during the celebrations as part of continued efforts to break the Covid-19 infection chains.
"We have gone through many obstacles and challenges in our nation's fight to break free from the shackles of Covid-19. Going forward, my subjects must carry on with this momentum by continuing to practice good healthcare and comply with the government's advice and recommendations," he said.
In a separate address to the nation, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysians have proven their strength in facing the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years and now can relish the joys of festivities once again.
Ismail Sabri also reminded the public to continue to practice self-discipline as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr, even though many restrictions have been eased.
"Spend time visiting open houses and those that you cherish. For those of you returning to your hometowns, be careful on the road, drive conscientiously so that you reach your destinations safely," he added.
Arif Naquiddin, 34, who lives in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is finally able to celebrate the festivities with extended family following two years of disruptions and strict restrictions.
"It is wonderful that we are finally able to celebrate without the restrictions we had before and we finally can host visitors. The mood has improved and the joy has returned. Of course, we are still cautious but at least we can have a real celebration this year," he told Xinhua.
"I hope we will never return to the days of the lockdown again."