KUALA LUMPUR: ALL festive processions, including the kavadi procession for Thaipusam and Chingay during the Chinese New Year celebration next year, are not allowed, says National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique.
She said this was because the country was facing the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron.
“In the application for Thaipusam, the procession is not allowed as we are facing the new (Covid-19) variant.
“On Chingay, as I have already mentioned, the procession is not allowed for Thaipusam, so whatever forms of processions would also not be allowed and the decision depends on three committees,” she said during Question Time yesterday.
Halimah was replying to a supplementary question by Steven Choong (Ind-Tebrau) who wanted to know whether the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the coming Chinese New Year allowed Chingay processions.
Replying to the initial question by Sivakumar Varatharaju Naidu (PH-Batu Gajah) who wanted to know the SOP for Thaipusam celebrations, Halimah said the proposed SOP for festivals including Christmas this year would be tabled to three committees for approval in the middle of this month.
She said it would be presented to the Pandemic Management Technical Working Group and later, to the Quartet Ministers Meeting.
“It will be taken to the Special Committee on Pandemic Management meeting chaired by the Prime Minister on Dec 15.
“After receiving the decision of the meetings, a circular on the approved SOP will be sent to religious leaders and a media statement will be issued,” she said.
According to Bernama, Halimah said that for the provision of Thaipusam SOP, the ministry held an engagement session with 10 Hindu religious leaders and representatives of the National Security Council as well as the Health Ministry on Dec 2.
The session, she said, was aimed at obtaining detailed information on activities and religious ceremonies suitable for the festival.
Through the engagement session, seven matters or religious activities were identified including the operation of stalls.
She said that for each festive SOP celebrated by the various races in the country, the ministry would hold engagement sessions with the related parties two months before the date of the festival.
“All SOP proposals after the engagement session will be brought to each of the committee meetings.
“As such, there is no problem with providing SOP for whatever festivals for the Malaysian Family,” she said.