Human Resources Minister M Saravanan has decried the alleged double standards in imposing restrictions on Thaipusam celebrations next month, while allowing the "100 Days Keluarga Malaysia Aspiration" event to take place without regards to physical distancing.

"Today (yesterday) thousands of people gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) and there was no physical distancing at all as people packed the hall, and they were standing in close proximity.

"All these is overlooked, while at the same time, they are targeting Thaipusam," news portal Malaysiakini quoted Saravanan, who is also MIC deputy president, telling reporters after attending the event yesterday.

The minister did not elaborate who he was referring to by the expression "they".

Saravanan further assured that he would personally speak to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on the matter, and ensure that the restrictions placed on Thaipusam celebrations on January 18 next year are lifted with immediate effect.

The “100 Days Keluarga Malaysia Aspiration” event was held to celebrate the 100th day of the current administration, and Malaysiakini reported that thousands of people, including civil servants and the public, thronged the event without paying much regards to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

These include not practising physical distancing, not wearing face masks properly, and even bringing unvaccinated young children to the crowded venue, said the portal.

According to Saravanan, if the “100 Days Keluarga Malaysia Aspiration” event can take place without regards to SOPs, surely chariot processions during Thaipusam can take place with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

For the record, National Unity Minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique had earlier this week said that chariot procession and kavadi breaing will not be allowed for next year's Thaipusam, in light of the looming threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Besides Thaipusam, the Chingay parade will also not be allowed to take place for Chinese New Year next year, the minister had said.

However, the SOPs for the two festivals are still on discussion stage and yet to be finalised.

Source: Malaysiakini
Photo source: Malaysiakini, Astro Awani