PETALING JAYA: Keeping "home within one"'s heart is a way to stay united despite being unable to "balik kampung" this Chinese New Year, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
"Although we may not be able to gather together, I believe that as long as we hold our homes in our hearts, this is a reunion.
"Irrespective of how and where we celebrate Chinese New Year, the true meaning of a Lunar New Year will not alter," the MCA president said in his Chinese New Year message on the eve of the celebrations Thursday (Feb 11).
Dr Wee, who is also Transport Minister, acknowledged that it is a long held tradition among the Chinese community to return home to be with family to usher in and celebrate the new year.
"At this time last year, those celebrating Chinese New Year would have already 'balik kampung' to their hometowns and would be doing spring cleaning and preparing for the family reunion dinner with relatives to usher in the first day of the new year.
"However, this year, we have to be cautious and fully geared in our fight against Covid-19," he said.
With the exception of Sarawak, he noted that the entire country is currently under the movement control order with travel restrictions in place.
"We may neither return to our hometowns to welcome the new year nor go out to visit friends and relatives.
"This Chinese New Year is believed to be the most unusual Lunar New Year experience for many people," he added.
However, with the number of new positive Covid-19 cases remaining high, Dr Wee said that the health of family members and friends remains the biggest worry.
"Observing frontliners giving their all to save lives day and night is also a moving sight.
"This year, the greatest blessing we can impart to others is to practise physical distancing to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus," he added.
Owing to this, he said there are few choices left with regard to the new normal.
"The SOPs are intended to bring the best protection for our elders, relatives and friends at our hometowns," he said.
Dr Wee also reminded those celebrating the festivities in their own respective manner to main self-discipline to safeguard their families.
He also noted that the nationwide vaccination plan will begin soon.
He said this would help end the pandemic while bringing back normalcy to our lives.
"Let us look forward to Chinese New Year next year where we will be able to embark on the journey back to our hometowns to enjoy a complete reunion dinner with the entire family," he said.
Dr Wee also extended greetings for the nation's prosperity, peace, security and good health.
"It is only with peace and good health that our reunion is rendered more meaningful," he added.