Last Saturday (28 August), Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has visited his parents’ graves at the Lubuk Kawah Muslim cemetery in Termeloh, Pahang before he continue to meet the local community for the first time after his appointment as prime minister.
As the incident was being reported, this triggered a tremendous backlash from the netizens as they criticized Ismail for violating the SOP to visit his parents’ graves, while many of whom have not been able to visit their parents’ graves despite the festive season.
In a tweet by Astro Awani, netizens expressed their anger on the PM’s actions and said the government had always been practicing double standard policies when it comes to the citizens and those VIPs.
“Two freaking years I have never got a chance to visit mum’s grave! Freaking two years!!” an enraged Twitter user quote tweeted their response in all caps to the article.
Previously on 21 July, a Negeri Sembilan man was fined RM2,000 for visiting a grave, reported Malaysiakini.
Meanwhile, the National Security Council (MKN) were quick to respond to the situation and they explained that there are no specific ban on visiting the graves of loved ones during non-festive periods.
The MKN Director-General, Datuk Rodzi Md Saad said the previous ban on graveside visits was only for Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha celebrations and it is introduced to ensure there was no crowding at cemeteries.
He added that MKN views this as a risk as the practice of visiting graves during festive seasons are a norm.
“During non-festive periods, visiting graves is not an issue and is allowed. The important thing is that each visitor must ensure that physical distancing of one metre is adhered to and a face mask is worn.” he said, according to FMT.
“In the past, whenever a festive period is approaching, the government would announce (additional) SOPs to control COVID-19 infection and this would include visiting graves. During non-festive periods, there is no SOPs preventing a person from visiting graves.” New Straits Times quoted Rodzi as saying.
Having said that, Rodzi stressed that Ismail has not violated any SOPs as the visit was not a daily occurrence and did not involve a large group of people.
“I don’t think any issue arose because those present wore face masks and observed physical distancing.” Harian Metro quoted him as saying yesterday (28 August).
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