More safety measures at scaled down Chingay fest

  • Metro News
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2020

Ho (seated second from right) with the Chingay festival organising committee at the press conference.

JOHOR BARU: The Chingay festival in Johor will go on, with the organisers taking more safety measures including submitting a list of names and addresses of those taking part in the parade to the state health department.

Tiong Hua Association president Ho Sow Tong said the decision was made just hours after a meeting with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal.

The state government had earlier expressed its disagreement over holding the festival and had urged the organisers to cancel it amid fears of coronavirus (Covid-19).

In a statement, the Mentri Besar’s office had said the decision was made based on a risk evaluation conducted by the state Health Department.

“Also, there is not enough manpower to carry out health screening for such a large crowd.

“The organisers as well as security personnel are also unable to estimate the number of visitors expected at the festival,” the statement said.

It added that the decision was made as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ho said the festival scheduled to take place today will be further scaled down to reduce the risk of the disease spreading among the large crowd expected.

He said only five lorries will be involved in the procession this year, with no performances held.

“Only five lorries that are ferrying deities of the five main clans in Johor will take part in the procession.

“Each lorry will have six people on it, including the driver and no one will be walking on foot,” he said in a press conference here.

“We decided not to cancel the festival as this is the 150th year for the festival to be held in the state.

“We will take all the necessary measures to ensure public health is protected,” he said, adding that preparations started about six months ago, involving more than RM3mil.

He said the public could also watch the live telecast of the festival from home.

The Chingay festival has been held in the state annually since 1870.

It is one of the main tourism programmes in Johor, with thousands of local and foreign tourists attending.

The event takes place mainly on Jalan Wong Ah Fook in the city centre here.

During the festival, deities worshipped by the five main clans – Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese and Hainan – would be taken on a 7.8km-long parade to bless the city and its people.

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Chingay festival , coronavirus , covid-19


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