Please don’t shut us down, say Malaysia’s Ramadan bazaar vendors amid COVID-19 fears

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Street food vendor Ilyas Muhammad has been selling apam balik pancake at the annual Ramadan bazaar at Kelana Jaya, Selangor for almost every year since 1999.

The only exception was in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in physical bazaars being banned across the country.

However, bazaars have been allowed to operate in most parts of the country this year, and business owners like Ilyas have lauded the move.

“I’m grateful to be back this year, it’s a crucial source of income for me,” said Ilyas.

“Ramadan does not feel like Ramadan without the bazaar, and if we stay committed to adhering to the SOPs (standard operating procedures to prevent spread of COVID-19), I don’t see why we cannot continue,” added the 37-year-old.

It has been more than a week into the fasting month and there have been concerns that the Ramadan bazaars could exacerbate the COVID-19 situation.

Photos of huge crowds, with people standing in close proximity to one another, have gone viral on social media and these have sparked fears that the decision to allow bazaars could lead to a surge in cases.

 

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