PETALING JAYA: A mix-up while passing on a contact led to the absence of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) at the dialogue sessions organised by the National Unity Ministry in January.
Buddhist Missionaries Society Malaysia president Loh Pai Ling clarified that Huazong’s absence at the meeting was caused by an honest mistake.
“There was a mix-up while I was passing on contact information to a ministry staff who informed me about the meeting.
“So, there was a misunderstanding and I have since extended my apologies to Huazong and the ministry.
“I hope we will take the matter in stride, and that all stakeholders would seize the opportunity to communicate and improve the standard operating procedures (for Chinese New Year),” she said when contacted on Saturday (Feb 6).
On Thursday (Feb 4), the government had announced the SOPs for Chinese New Year, allowing only the reunion dinner for those living in the same house.
Prayers at temples are not allowed with the exception of five of its committee members.
Activities such as lion dance, lantern procession, Chingay and other stage performances are also prohibited.
Visits and cross-border travel will also not be permitted during this Chinese New Year.
However, following public backlash on the matter, the ministry clarified that they had engaged with 21 religious associations and Chinese cultural associations before coming to a decision.
Huazong president Tan Sri Goh Tian Chuan then on Friday (Feb 5) night clarified that the federation was not invited, and thus, they did not send any representatives for the two dialogue sessions.
“If we were invited by the relevant government departments or agencies, we certainly would have sent our representatives to provide our views and proposals on the issue,” he said.
Goh noted he was glad that the ministry has assured that any consideration given to the views and pleas will be incorporated into the Chinese New Year SOP that will be announced by Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.