The National Unity Ministry will forward views and appeals from the public pertaining to the much criticized standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Chinese New Year, to the National Security Council (NSC).

"After hearing all the views regarding reunion dinners and visit to temples during the celebrations, the ministry will forward them to the NSC for reconsideration.

"Any further development on the matter will be announced by Senior Minister (security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob," the ministry said in a statement today.

Ismail's announcement on Thursday that Chinese New Year celebrations, including reunion dinners, will only be allowed among family members living in the same house, elicited negative feedback, especially when economic activities like night markets were allowed to reopen.

Also prohibited were house-to-house visits, as well as interstate and interdistrict travel. As for prayers, only five members of a temple's committee are allowed to attend them.

Lion and dragon dance, operas shows and Chingay processions, which are among the norms during the annual Lunar New Year celebrations, are also in the no-go list this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ministry, the feedback forwarded to the NSC was drawn from 21 Chinese cultural and religious associations.

Among those who vehemently criticised the government's SOPs were National Unity Deputy Minister Ti Lian Ker of MCA.

This year's Chinese New Year falls on Friday, Feb 12, and is commonly celebrated for 15 days.

Source: Malaysiakini
Photo source: Astro Awani