Sabah cops on close watch during festive season

KOTA KINABALU: Police are keeping a close watch on Chinese New Year SOP throughout the festive season.

They have been dispatched to patrol and monitor the situation as part of a special operations which started yesterday.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali urged celebrants and others to follow the SOP when they dine in or hold gatherings and celebrations.

“We have a total of 340 teams on standby from last night until Sunday, ” he said.

Although the police would not conduct house-to-house checks, he said they would not hesitate to check and take action if complaints were lodged.

“Our focus is on public areas such as restaurants but if we receive complaints on suspected violation of SOP, we will visit your house, ” Hazani said.

A check around the city found that there was quite heavy traffic in the morning though it eased off in the afternoon.

Markets were quite full with last minute shoppers but the people wore face masks and queued accordingly with physical distancing.

Families also resorted to virtual reunions since they could not cross districts.

The family of 80-year-old Mitchel Chung held an online reunion as many of them could not return to their hometown of Kota Kinabalu.Chung and his wife were

“reunited” with their son who is in Johor. Other family members were in Petaling Jaya and Tawau.

Chung’s grandchildren and other relatives also joined in the online chat and virtual lunch.

Like many Malaysians, they hoped to see a better year ahead without Covid-19.

Parks ranger Lee Keat Hou who resides in Ranau district, also held a virtual reunion dinner with his mother, siblings and relatives who are all in Kota Kinabalu.

“I took leave with the hope of going back to Kota Kinabalu with my wife and three sons but with the SOP and inter-district travel restrictions, we could only have a virtual meet-up, ” said Lee, 30.

In a statement on Feb 7, the National Unity Ministry said family reunion gatherings for Chinese New Year were permitted.

It was limited to 15 family members living within a 10km radius and must not involve interstate or inter-district travel.

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