Halimah Yacob says she understands how S'pore Muslims feel during Hari Raya amid circuit breaker

Technology can help alleviate the distance between family members, she said.

Ashley Tan| May 23, 12:06 PM

Hari Raya is nearly upon us, but for Muslims, the holiday is likely to be a hugely different affair this year.

Understands how Singaporean Muslims are feeling

With the circuit breaker measures in place, Muslims in Singapore are not allowed to visit each other during this period, marking a stark change to the typical festivities families usually undertake.

President Halimah Yacob herself has taken to Facebook to touch on the issue and offer some soothing words of comfort.

She commiserated with fellow Muslims, saying she would miss seeing her family, who would congregate at her house on the first day of Hari Raya.

Halimah shared that she especially missed her grandchild, whom she had not seen in weeks, "so I understand how members of the Muslim community feel without large family gatherings and visiting this year."

Here's a photo she posted of her and her granddaughter taken during Hari Raya in 2019.

Photo from Halimah Yacob / FB

Celebrate despite restrictions

However, she said these new restrictions should not "diminish the joy or meaning" of the celebrations.

And despite the departure to the usual celebrations, she said she was glad that Singaporeans were remaining socially responsible.

"I am glad that while we perform our responsibilities as Muslims in fasting and praying, we have also upheld our responsibilities as Singaporeans to ensure our families and communities are kept healthy and safe by observing the various measures in place."

To help bridge the distance between family members celebrating during this period, she suggested using technology as an alternative.

Some families have decided to organise an "E-Open House" to 'welcome' guests and enjoy meals together over video calls, while donning matching clothes.

Similarly, MUIS previously announced that Muslims were encouraged to perform takbir online, as they will not be held at mosques this year.

And while this Hari Raya would be a "subdued but unforgettable one", Halimah reassured Singaporeans to celebrate together in spirit.

"As the Malay saying goes, “Jauh dimata, dekat dihati”, our loved ones are from our sight but they are still dear and near to our hearts especially during this period.

I wish all Muslims Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, maaf zahir dan batin!"

She also urged Singaporeans to remain cautious and responsible even after circuit breaker measures are eased on June 2.

Halimah mentioned that the Hari Raya Istana Open House is cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"S'pore's survival at stake"

On a separate note, Halimah told the reporters over video conferencing on Friday (May 22) that Singapore has to draw on past reserves to take care of its people as its very existence is at stake, The Straits Times reported.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament on May 26 to announce a new suite of plans the government has to help businesses and individuals adapt to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Halimah Yacob said that the national reserves should only be used in "very exceptional circumstances", and the Covid-19 outbreak fits this definition.

You can read Halimah's full post on Hari Raya here.

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Top photo from Halimah Yacob / FB and govsingapore / YouTube