KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims in Malaysia rushed to make final preparations to usher in the month of Syawal after the unexpected announcement that Hari Raya Puasa would be celebrated on Monday (May 2).
In the capital, traffic was heavy around Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Dataran Merdeka and Chow Kit, as people thronged stores in the area to buy necessities for the festivities.
Private sector employee Ghazali Ahmad Zukri had been caught off-guard by the announcement as he and his family had yet to shop for the occasion.
The 47-year-old said their plans to head back to their hometown in Melaka after breaking fast had to be postponed to buy clothes instead.
“Immediately after the announcement, I asked the family to get ready to go and shop and we would head back to our hometown after dawn tomorrow,” he told the Bernama news agency on Sunday night.
Checks around the Shah Alam area in Selangor also found that several necessities were sold out.
Civil servant Mohd Muizzuddin Abdullah said he visited more than five grocery shops and convenience stores around Setia Alam as he needed to buy ice but could not find any.
In Negeri Sembilan, Siti Zaleha Timbang immediately instructed her child to head out to purchase ingredients for rendang after she heard the news.
The 56-year-old homemaker said she had already prepared the beef and chicken needed but required several other items including coconut milk.
“The announcement came as a real surprise, I expected Aidilfitri to fall on Tuesday, luckily the meat had been bought earlier,” she added.
Malls in Johor were packed with shoppers and long queues were seen at checkout counters.
Raja Rosilah Raja Mahmood initially thought that the announcement was fake news.
“I thought it was a prank, it was a real shock … my husband and I rushed to the shopping mall to buy stuff, thankfully we managed to buy other things a couple of days back,” said the 35-year-old.
In Terengganu, barbershop owner Saiful Md Dahan said a crowd of customers had formed at his shop soon after the announcement.
“There are 60 customers tonight. I am attending to them even though my own Hari Raya preparations aren’t done yet because I can sympathise with their plight,” he explained.
The 25-year-old added that he and another worker will keep the shop open until 4am to accommodate the large number of customers.