Hari Raya Under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO): Guide on How to Prepare for Raya During COVID-19 Pandemic

Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2020 during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) or (PKPB) will be one of the most memorable Raya celebrations in history, and we’re here to help you make the best out of it.

With Hari Raya Aidilfitri just a week away, Malaysians will be busy updating their Raya checklist and preparing for the festivities. But this year’s celebrations will be noticeably different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, completely altering our lives in the past two months.

Strict social distancing measures such as the Movement Control Order (MCO) have transformed the way we live, work, interact, and commemorate special occasions. Almost all large gatherings and festive celebrations have been put on hold, and the country’s Hari Raya holiday will be impacted as well. In the on-going sluggish economy caused by the pandemic, many Malaysians will also be going into Hari Raya with tighter budgets.

With the country still under a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) until June 9, Malaysians will need to find new ways to continue to live normally and celebrate special occasions, whilst maintaining social distancing and strict hygiene habits. So to help ease your Hari Raya planning, we’ve listed down a few things you can do to prepare for a very CMCO Raya.

1. Prepare e-Duit Raya

This year, it’s best to avoid crowding at the bank for fresh stacks of Duit Raya. Instead, go cashless and contactless as part of the new normal. It’s safer and more rewarding too!

Just because you’re practicing social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t give out Duit Raya. Near or far, you can send eDuit Raya to your family and friends via the Maybank2u Malaysia app. Just make sure the recipient’s mobile number is registered with MAE, or scan the QR code of your recipient with QRPay. The money will then be sent in a green virtual packet.

Maybank is also giving away a total of RM250,000 cash rewards to lucky e-Duit Raya senders. All you have to do is to send e-Duit Raya to as many people as you can throughout the festive season.

You can also transfer money via the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet and get guaranteed cashback rewards of up to RM300. You can send a minimum of RM5 using the “Transfer” function. However, they need to be unique (AKA made to different users) in order to be eligible for rewards.

Also read: Here’s 6 Ways To Spend Your Duit Raya

2. Prepare a Hari Raya checklist (and stick to it)

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Keep to your Raya day goals by preparing a robust Raya checklist during this CMCO. It helps you stay organized, ensures you don’t miss out on any important items or steps, and generally empowers the checklist owner to be accountable for the tasks that need to be completed.

A simple checklist can be done with a paper and pen, or if you are more tech-savvy, just whip out the laptop and prepare one with Microsoft Excel.

Couple the checklist with a budget sheet to ensure that you don’t burst your Raya budget, especially for those with bad financial habits.

A simple checklist can consist of the following:

  1. Kitchen – Clean and declutter the fridge, and wipe those countertops till they are sparking clean.
  2. House – Get rid of dust bunnies by vacuuming the house thoroughly, and clean all fabrics at home such as curtains, carpets, and sofas.
  3. Raya goodies – Make sure Raya cookies are baked around two days in advance so that you’ll have enough time for other things.
  4. Family and friends – List down the names of family and friends you would like to send Raya cards, gifts, and wishes to. You definitely don’t want to forget anyone!
  5. Duit Raya – Allocate enough money for different members of the family, and prepare to do it digitally through e-wallets instead.
  6. Work – Time management is king. Plan your work around the holidays so you complete or space out your tasks. Enjoy the festivities with a peace of mind!
  7. Hygiene tools – Part of the new normal is to practice strict hygiene, so stock up on sufficient masks, sanitisers, and disinfectants when families come to visit within the CMCO guidelines.
  8. Must-have Raya food – Raya wouldn’t be the same without these festive staple on Raya morning: Beef or chicken Rendang, Sambal Sotong, Lemang, Lontong, Bubur Lambuk and Mee Rebus. Learn the recipe if you must!
  9. Music – The suasana Raya wouldn’t be complete without some of our favourite tunes, from the classics like Sudirman’s Balik Kampung to more contemporary melodies like M. Nasir’s Satu Hari Di Hari Raya. Not sure where to find an awesome playlist? We’ve got you covered. Check this out on Spotify.
  10. Stable virtual call setup – Check your wifi or data usage before Raya morning to avoid that annoying video call lag. Also experiment with different placements of your router or devices to get the best connection.
  11. Raya decorations and trinkets – Spice up that Raya feel with colourful fairy lights and permissible fireworks. Raya will feel dull without the extra buzz.
  12. Clothes –  Be on the lookout for new Raya clothes. Pick a colour theme and match it among family members. But stick to a reasonable budget, of course!

Speaking of budgets, the next point is just as important too.

3. Distinguish between your needs and wants

Many Malaysians will be going into Hari Raya with tighter cash flow due to the pandemic, so it’s advisable to stay away from big-money purchases to better manage your finances.

Focus on your needs than your wants. This Raya would be the perfect opportunity to break all forms of impulsive buying behaviour, including car-shopping.

Surprisingly, Malaysians love cars. According to a 2017 data by ASEANstats, Malaysia has the second highest car ownership ratio among Southeast Asian countries with 897 vehicles per 1,000 population. An anonymous employee from a local car reselling website also told us that they typically see a massive peak in car sales during the Raya season.

So, what to do if you see a new set of wheels that you admire? Well, put it on the back burner for now. With interstate movement to balik kampung banned until June 9, the usual Hari Raya house-hopping or long journey back to your kampung won’t be happening, so buying a new car may be optional.

However, it would be a good idea to prioritise your vehicle maintenance services so that you can have a safe and smooth journey when movements are no longer restricted.

4. Shop from the safety of your home

Due to worldwide quarantines and lockdowns, the pandemic has forced consumers across the globe to depend on e-commerce platforms for daily necessities and goods, resulting in a global growth of e-commerce sales.

Avoid overcrowding the malls, and simultaneously risking your life and those around you, by shopping online for Hari Raya. Many banks and e-commerce companies offer amazing online deals with their partner retailers, which makes for a safer, faster and more rewarding shopping experience. For example, you can get tons of essentials for as low as RM10 as part of Shopee’s Pesta Jualan Raya 48-hour non-stop sale (ends 15th May), which includes free shipping and storewide discounts.

To avoid missing out on any of these great deals, plan your Hari Raya shopping spree days in advance. You must take note on where the products come from. Many local sellers actually practice dropshipping (ordering in your item from their overseas supplier), and this will easily take the parcel weeks to get to your doorstep. To avoid this, use the “Shipped From: Local” filter or look for keywords like “Ready Stock” in your search.

Better yet, chat with sellers on the expected delivery date, especially because online delivery services are increasing due to the CMCO and rising Raya deliveries. Nothing is more disappointing than having that beautiful dulang arrive a week after the festivities are over.

And when shopping online, why not use your credit card and take advantage of these benefits and more?

Related: Ultimate Guide On Using Credit Cards Responsibly

online-shopping-at-home

  • Maximize your savings by getting up to 20% cashback when you pay your online purchases with Maybank QRPay or MAE.
  • Stand a chance to get a 22% discount on online deals when you spend a minimum spend of RM200 with your AmBank Debit Mastercard® or Credit Card/AmBank Islamic Credit Card-i.
  • Similarly, earn a 22% discount and cashback rewards when you spend with any BSN card at BSN’s merchant partners, which include Fashion Valet, Sephora and JD, among others.
  • CIMB’s #BazarSiberturahim offers awesome discounts from leading brands such as Dyson, Marks & Spencer, New Balance and more as well as cashback rewards of up to RM60,000 as part of their #BornToChillax campaign.
  • Lastly, get up to RM40 cashback every month till June 28 when you use the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet to shop online for Raya.

If you’re looking to save some cash while shopping in future, consider applying for a Standard Chartered digital credit card and get rewarded with an RM300 Shopee voucher. Some credit cards even reward you with exclusive gifts such as a Khind breadmaker, Sharp pressure cooker, and even a ViewSonic monitor screen. For more information on these promotions, click here.

5. Save extra cash for the needy

Though Ramadan would soon be over, continue to embody the spirit of the holy month by donating to charity or towards a cause that’s close to your heart. Supporting those in need not only helps preserve their livelihood, but also promotes self-gratitude and improves your own emotional wellbeing.

Donations need not necessarily be in the form of cash. Instead, volunteer your time at your local soup kitchen or treat the homeless to a meal or new clothes. (Don’t forget to apply social distancing practices.) Life can go by so quickly that we tend to forget the importance of showing gratitude or giving back to society.

In the Raya spirit of sharing and giving, consider donating extra cash to those who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the most vulnerable among us such as the B40 community.

  • Be part of Alliance Bank’s #SupportLokal initiative, which aims to help local businesses reach out to more customers online. Support these local brands by spending on their platforms.
  • You can also spread the Hari Raya joy to those less fortunate by making a donation via Maybank2u, which will be channeled to selected NGOs under MaybankHeart.

Local artist and singer Faizal Tahir is also encouraging netizens to buy local as a sign of solidarity with micro-entrepreneurs in these trying times.

6. Ensure social distancing and celebrate in smaller groups

Though Hari Raya celebrations will continue, social distancing measures are still in place during the festive season to maintain public safety and avoid unnecessarily crowded celebrations.

The Malaysian National Security Council has stated that home visitations for the upcoming Hari Raya, Kaamatan and Hari Gawai celebrations will be limited to 20 close family members, and on the first day of celebrations only. All family members are also required to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by using hand sanitizers, wearing face masks, and practising social distancing.

Though visitations are allowed within the same state, it’s advisable to refrain from visiting relatives and family members who are from vulnerable groups – those above the age of 65, have underlying health conditions, and pregnant mothers.

7. Get these tools to connect virtually this Hari Raya

Limited visitations this Raya has forced us to look into alternatives to connect. But don’t worry because software companies like Zoom, Microsoft, Google, and Skype among others have many video conferencing tools to choose from.

Through Google’s premium version, which also happens to be free until July 2020, you can make video calls with up to 150 participants. If that’s not enough, you can directly broadcast the call to up to 100,000 viewers.

Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype are also other good options but differ in the number of participants, with 250, 100, and 50, respectively.

Weigh your options carefully, taking into account your situation and needs. Also weigh in real concerns associated with each platform, especially with issues of security, privacy, and “Zoombombing” (the practice of uninvited users crashing into conversations) coming to light in the news recently.

A tip we’ve learned on our own: test it out before the big day as the less tech-savvy members will find this a little challenging. (Nobody wants a whole 30-minutes of “Can you see me? Can you hear me?”) To ensure that your Raya virtual gathering has more fun than frustration, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get everyone familiarised with the setup beforehand.

8. Avoid anything last minute

last-minute-hari-raya-preparations

Last minute spring cleaning, last minute shopping, last minute cooking, last minute outfit searching, and the list goes on.

Though you can expect a quieter Raya this year due to the CMCO, that doesn’t mean you should leave your Hari Raya preparations till the last minute.

Use your weekend prior to Raya to do some spring cleaning and give your house a minor makeover. Though you may not need new furniture, dishware or even curtains, consider adding some new decors to brighten up the festive mood.

There’s still plenty to clean in the house despite CMCO. Give your curtains a good wash or at least a minor wipe, scrub the bathrooms, throw out old food in the refrigerator, vacuum the house, and throw away clutter.

9. Brace yourselves for a contactless Raya

contactless-hari-raya

Without a doubt, this Hari Raya Aidifitri looks set to be a bittersweet, if not a sombre affair for many Muslims in the country, especially for those separated from loved ones who live in other states.

The reality of not being able to kiss their parents’ hands to seek forgiveness, a norm for Malaysian Muslims on the morning of Hari Raya, will hit them hard emotionally and mentally on Raya day itself. There might also not be any Raya feasting for those who live alone.

The situation may not be any better for families and relatives who live in the same state, as strict SOPs mean staying put at your own house is better to avoid any risk of infection to the vulnerable groups.

Muslims also face the prospect of not being able to congregate for the routine Raya prayers due to the CMCO measures. In his most recent address to the country, Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded the people, particularly Muslims who will celebrate Raya, of the Health Ministry’s advice to stay away from crowds and confined spaces, and maintain safe distancing when in conversation with guests.

Muslims in the country are still waiting for the official announcement of whether Friday prayers, tarawih and the obligatory five times a day prayers, and the Aidilfitri prayer, will be allowed at mosques.

Just remember… this too shall pass

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of stress and anxiety, and is now affecting the special festive occasions that we hold so dear to our hearts.

But despite the challenges that the pandemic has thrown at Malaysians – and the global population for that matter – we should keep our heads high and appreciate the many small blessings that are still bestowed upon us every day, like a roof over our heads, food on our table, and just simply: being able to live another day.

Besides, with Malaysia managing to contain the virus well, and even being described as exemplary in the battle against the coronavirus, there is plenty to be optimistic about.

Don’t be disheartened that your Raya won’t be the same this year, because eventually we will be reunited with our loved ones. Now, all Malaysians will need to do their part in containing COVID-19, for the sake of everyone’s safety. Have a great preparation for Raya ahead and stay safe!