Coronavirus in Malaysia

We are now in our 5th day of the Restrictive Movement Order (RMO). Since the 18th of March, the Malaysian government has announced an RMO for the next 14 days in hopes of flattening the curve.

How does a Restrictive Movement Order work?

Basically, people in the country are instructed to stay put in heir own homes, hostels or wherever they are currently staying. No gatherings are allowed. This is because we can’t identify a person who is infected with Coronavirus or COVID-19 immediately. It could take up to 2 to 3 weeks for the symptoms to appear. So in order to avoid any possible random spreading of the virus and swift medical attention to the group that is already infected, this RMO could potentially work.

A Restrive Movement Order is different from a total Lockdown because people are still allowed to leave their homes to get food and other basic needs. Essential needs related premises such as restaurants, supermarkets or banks are still open.

Restrictive Movement Order in Malaysia

When the RMO rumours were out, it had caused panic buying in Malaysia. People thought it was going to be a total lockdown like China did. So a lot of people went stocking up food and household items like the Singaporeans did.

A day before the announcement, I chose to go to the Setapak Giant because I knew that not a lot of people went there as compared to Cold Storage in Mont Kiara or Ben’s grocer in Publika. As I arrived, lo and behold! Never on earth have I had to queue for a long time and on that day I did. I realised then that this was going to be serious because before that I didn’t know how soon was the government going to enforce an RMO.

After the RMO instruction was announced, it has caused an exodus. A lot of people were rushing to go back to their hometown to be with their loved ones. There were cynical memes on social media saying that these people loved their families so much that they’d even want to “gift” their coronavirus to them.

But some of them were innocent varsity students which had nowhere to go because the universities were shutting down hostels and told the students to leave. It was only later then the government announced that they would provide financial aid to the varsities to cater the students’ needs in the hostels.

On the 1st day of the RMO, pictures and videos of people enjoying their breakfast at restaurants were circulating on social media. The government then emphasized and highlighted that restaurants can’t cater eat-ins but only takeaways. The next day, we saw restaurants had left chairs on the table and only took orders from the entrance.

On the following day, there were still people ignoring the RMO. They still went shopping and even gathering at their residential areas. The Malaysian police had to go hard on them by scolding them to go home.

Malaysian Military Steps In To Enforce the Restrictive Movement Disorder

Finally on the 3rd day, the government announces that the military is going to assist our Malaysian police to enforce the RMO. The government doesn’t want to announce a total lockdown. Only that this time, the government limits only 1 person is allowed to leave the house to buy things that a household needs.

We don’t know if this 14 day RMO would work 100%. But if does not, then following China’s draconian lockdown is the only way to go in the end. China was successful in its battle because it took them only 50 days to be free from the contagious virus.

With the public transport still working and people are still allowed to go to work, I suppose there is still potential for the virus to spread around. We will see.

The “Kalimah Allah” Issue Is Making A Fool of Malaysians

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, City Centre – The request by the publisher of the Malaysian Catholic Herald to use the word “Allah” in its weekly publications has done much collateral damage to our socio-religious harmony.

Race and religion are the two weakest points of the Malaysian society. It is the prime foundation of our country’s progress. Without social order, the nation can not be administered effectively.

This kalimah “Allah” incident is the works of a group with interests. They are  poking the bee hive with a purpose of creating chaos.

Chaos is one of the diversionary methods of destroying the enemy. Based on the Malaysian history, the eruption of ethnic chaos in this country might lead to detrimental consequences if not curbed.

It is just too shallow for the Muslims react emotionally by committing sacrilegious acts such as burning churches . We, Malaysians are supposed to be smarter than that. Before pointing fingers, we should first clear our conscience and try to read between the lines, “why is this issue being brought up now and not before?

What is really the hidden agenda to this issue? Who is the planner of the agenda? The persons or group who flared up this issue must have a plan to achieve their ulterior motive because logically anyone knows that religious matters are not meant to be played around with.

As we know, the Malaysian society is consisted of an eclectic combination of ethnic backgrounds. Each group of societies have different interests and preferences. They all have their own principles and demands to defend as citizens of Malaysia.

We may be blaming the other for not understanding our interests and norms. However, rather than  fiercely championing human rights, in this aspect we should  practice empathy and compromise. It is the only way we can ever live together without sacrificing our right to live in convenience.

Even though we have the freedom of fighting for our rights, it should not be at the expense of another’s rights. We must not exceed our boundaries and given space. Sensitive issues should be handled with wisdom or be left unperturbed.

Therefore, Malaysians, I summon us all to stop this enmity and defy the provocation for the sake of our unity! May God save us!

Sahara Tent: Jewel of the Ain Arabia

Ala H. Salih The Boss
‘Ala H. Salih, The Boss

Sahara Tent, ‘Ain ‘Arabeyya – The other day I had the best break fast treat for Ramadhaan. It has been quite a while since I have been yearning to savour juicy arabian lamb delicacy for buka puasa.

Alhamdulillah, Ala the owner of the famous Sahara Tent arabian restaurant was kind enough to host us at his exclusive eatery.

As we all ate and talked over politics and culture, ‘Ala kept cracking Arab jokes every now and then. I was the only one who laughed because the rest were too busy discussing about the office or did not even understood what his jokes were about. Luckily, I am slightly familiar with the Arab culture since I used to have uncles and cousins who graduated from the Middle east. Those days, when they came back for the holidays, they’d share cultural jokes that were a little alien to our Malay-Arab worldview. Of course, they had to explain to me the true culture of the Arabs before I could really succumb to their jokes.

I looked around and reminisced the first time I discovered the restaurant back when I was a student. It was in the year 2000 and after 9 years, the place was still around and in fact the business has prospered very well. The survival of Ala’s enterprise among the mushrooming Arabian restaurants in KL was due to the fact it had its own niche as compared to the rest of its competitors. It involves the location, concept, food quality, service and the owner himself.


The Sahara Tent is situated in Bukit Bintang which is within the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur. The area is a shopping hot spot for the Arab tourists in this country. The establishment of the Ain Arabia strip by the Ministry of Tourism was a perfect move that it had further boosted the restaurant’s popularity. With the operation of trains like the LRT and the Monorail, potential customers have the convenience of going to the Sahara Tent at any time of the day despite of heavy traffic jams.


As compared to Tarbush and al-Rawsha, Sahara Tent is built on the concept of the Arabian canopy used by the nomads or also known as bedouins (Badwi). The colorful interior design is made of bright colours red, orange, gold and also black. Typical Arabian embellishments such as tassled curtains, shisha pipes and musical instruments such as the ‘oud complements the exotic ambience of the restaurant. It definitely makes an Arab feel like home or perhaps remind them of their hometown in the middle-east.

Food and Services

Did you know that there are certain delicacies that would take hours or even half a day to prepare? ‘Ala prioritises quality in terms of taste, presentation and services. Looking at the way the staff work and respond to their boss, it indicates that good cooperation amongst them and their undivided respect for the employer also contributes to the splendid performance of the Sahara Tent as the Best Arabic Food Restaurant in 2004.

Sahara Tent GaloreThe Owner

I must say that Ala has very good PR skills. His sense of humour always works for ice-breaking measures with unfamiliar customers. From the testing questions that I asked him, I find that this Iraqi entrepreneur has planned out his life and business very well over the years. He knows what to chose, where and who to affiliate with.  Just look at the picture frames hung around the restraunt and you’ll know what I mean.

Till then, start moving and go get that succulent lamb at Sahara Tent! Walla marra lazeez. (Or in Azib’s words, hatta la tatakallam! LOL!)