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Marching orders for civil servants not attending Fajr prayers in this Indonesian city

Sunday November 11, 2018 9:56 AM, & Agencies

Compulosory Fajr prayers Palembang

Palembang (Indonesia): An Indonesian city has ordered its top civil servants to attend their local mosques for Fajr Salah - the dawn prayers, or risk being sacked.

Senior bureaucrats in Palembang, co-host of 2018 Asian Games, are now required to partake in congregational Fajr prayers at the crack of dawn, with authorities warning that a smartphone app is in the works to sniff out the less-than-devout.

The order, a first for Indonesia, is aimed at helping bureaucrats better relate to residents' concerns while the early wake-up call could also boost productivity, city spokesman Amiruddin Sandy told AFP.

"By praying together at dawn with regular people, we get a chance to hear from them directly," he said, adding that common complaints ranged from water not running to broken street lights.

Palembang's new rule, which started in September, applies to Muslim members of its 16,000-strong civil service although only 1,100 senior staff will risk a sacking if they skip dawn prayers.

The city's mayor plans to do some spot checking to make sure officials were complying until the local government launches a smartphone app to keep track of attendance, Sandy said.

"If we find an official disobeying the regulation we won't immediately sack him. We will summon him first and ask why he didn't go to the mosque," he said.

"If you're doing your prayers well then, God willing, everything else will be good", he said.

About 90 percent of Indonesia's 260 million people follow Islam.

Salah is one of the five tenets of Islam. It is mandatory for Muslims to offer five daily Salah starting from daybreak.

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