Fans rejoice as football stadiums to open doors next month

Stadiums will once again come alive as the government has finally decided to allow fans to watch M-League matches starting April 1.

Fans lauded the decision despite the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) and limited number of spectators allowed into the venues. It’s been a year since stands at the stadiums have been empty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s great news not just for the fans but for the clubs as well. At least the clubs will be able to generate income from ticket sales and selling of merchandise during match day,” said Kelate.net president Mohd Nurul Md Yusoh.

Tickets for the M-League matches will only be sold online. Nurul is happy with that decision, adding this will stop touts from “ripping off the fans”.

Shops at the venues will be allowed to sell food, drinks and merchandise.

“Like all football fans, I have missed going to the stadium to cheer for my home team. I pray everyone follows the SOPs when they are in the arena as we don’t want to have ‘kluster stadium’,” he added.

Kuala Lumpur Supporters Club deputy president Saril Ahmat is also eager to return to the stands.

“The last match I went to was when Kuala Lumpur played Negeri Sembilan about a year ago (March 7, 2020),” recalled Saril.

The city side defeated Negeri Sembilan 3-1 in that match.

“I’m sure the fans will follow the SOPs as all we want to do is watch live football.”

Saril was confident the city club will do all it can to ensure the stadium remains safe for spectators.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, during his press briefing today, said stadiums in Conditional Movement Control Order areas will only allow a maximum of 2,000 fans or 10 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, whichever is lower, while venues in Recovery Movement Control Order areas will allow a maximum of 8,000 fans or 20 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Ismail Sabri said two matches will serve as a “proof of concept” to allow the National Security Council and the Youth and Sports Ministry to assess the situation, including when fans enter and exit the stadiums.

Pahang Fan Club president Muhammad Saifullah Suhaimi said it was the best news of the day.

“The last time I was at a stadium was on March 10 when Pahang played Sabah (Pahang won 2-0). The year has flown by,” said Saifullah.

“I’m very happy as the wait has been far too long. I think I speak for all football fans when I say this is what we have been hoping for”.

Separately, Ismail Sabri thanked frontliners and Malaysians for helping reduce the number of Covid-19 cases following the re-introduction of the Movement Control Order in January.

“Previously, we were recording between 4,000 and 5,000 cases a day but the trend is now declining as we are only seeing 1,000 cases daily,” said Ismail Sabri.

“We believe the cases will continue to drop in the coming months with the on-going vaccination (programme).”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

KEEPING MALAYSIANS SAFE@WORK

The International Trade and Industry Ministry has introduced the Safe@Work system which will see the creation of Safe Work Bubble (SWB). The SWB is aimed at balancing the operational sustainability of the manufacturing sector while controlling the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic among workers.

At present, in the event of a positive Covid-19 case, close-contact workers must be quarantined and will be barred from work until they are Covid-19-free.

However, under the new scheme, close-contact workers can continue working. They will, however, be isolated from the local community and other workers until all of them are certified Covid-19-free.

As of March 16, the manufacturing sector accounted for 58.1 per cent or 194 clusters of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.

JOHOR SULTAN WANTS GOVT TO CONTINUE APPEAL ON ALLAH

The Sultan of Johor urged the government to continue to appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision last week to allow non-Muslims to use the word “Allah” for religious publications and education purposes.

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar also decreed that the Johor Islamic Religious Council should take “any actions necessary” to support the appeal.

In a statement, Sultan Ibrahim said Johor issued a fatwa gazetted by the state government on July 4, 2009, which states the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims is not required, not allowed, forbidden and prohibited.

“The fatwa meant that the usage of the word Allah by non-Muslims, which does not coincide with the true meaning as the teachings of Islam, is not permissible.”

He added the state’s Control and Restriction of the Development of Non-Muslim Religions Enactment 1991, which prohibits the use of words that were reserved exclusively for Muslims and cannot be used by non-Muslims except in circumstances permitted by law.

KJ FIRST TO RECEIVE SINOVAC VACCINE

Khairy Jamaluddin became the first Malaysian to receive the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine today.

The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister received his shot at the Vaccination Centre of Rembau Hospital in Pedas, Negeri Sembilan.

Last month, Khairy said he would take whichever vaccine approved after Pfizer-BioNTech to combat the “selective vaccine hesitancy”.

ONE YEAR HAS GONE BY, EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY

Jokes, memes, recipes, songs and lots and lots of issues. ‘The MCO Diaries’ by Graig Nunis looks back at how the Movement Control Order (MCO) has flown by.

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