Malaysian officials have called on Muslims not to pray on motorway hard shoulders after a photo of devotees kneeling on the tarmac at dawn due to traffic congestion was widely shared online.
The photo of devout Muslims praying on the hard shoulder was taken on the Karak Expressway near the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur during a heavy traffic jam.
In the snap, devotees are seen parked up on the hard shoulder as they kneel in front of their vehicles at dawn.
Meanwhile, motorists on three lanes slowly edge along the motorway in the background.
The incident took place during ‘balik kampung’ (return to village’), a Malay term for the massive exodus during festive seasons such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Chinese New Year.
Karak Expressway (KLK) and East Coast Expressway Phase concessionaire Anih Berhad has since called on devotees not to pray on the hard shoulder due to safety concerns.
He said in a statement on 2nd August: “We really appreciate the patience of KLK Motorway users and also the obedience of Muslims to perform prayers while on their way to the East Coast during the festive season and public holidays.
“However, as the operator of the KLK Highway, we also request patience and due diligence from road users so as not to perform prayers on the emergency lane due to safety factors.”
The statement added that stopping on the hard shoulder can lead to accidents as motorcyclists and other road users may not be aware that people are kneeling on the tarmac.
Berhad also asked motorists to plan their trip accordingly and allow for stopovers at any one of the many service stations along the KLK.
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