Lawmaker urges govt to review ban on Thaipusam, Chingay processions


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 08 Dec 2021

KUALA LUMPUR: A lawmaker has called on the government to reconsider its decision to prohibit Thaipusam and Chingay processions scheduled for early next year.

The matter was raised by RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) when submitting an Emergency motion in Parliament to debate the issue.

"Due to the Omicron variant, it was announced by the National Unity Minister on Tuesday (Dec 7) that the Thaipusam and Chingay processions were cancelled.

"The public is questioning why state elections in Melaka and Sarawak could go ahead with standard operating procedures but small scale religious festivals can’t?" he said in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Dec 8).

He said the highlights of the Thaipusam festivals were the kavadi and silver chariot procession and cancelling them would make the celebration meaningless.

"I request the Health Ministry and National Unity Ministry to review the decision as their cancellation could affect the unity and harmony in the country," he added.

He said that the matter should be allowed for debate in the House.

On Tuesday (Dec 7), National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique told the Dewan Rakyat that the government decided to allow the Thaipusam celebrations to go on but without the silver chariot procession.

She said the prohibition on processions was also extended to the Chingay flag bearing procession.

Thaipusam will be celebrated this coming Jan 18, while Chingay will be celebrated on the 21st day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in February.

The processions for both celebrations were called off this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move was to prevent the congregation of large crowds of people from marking the festivities in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon acknowledged that Rayer's motion to debate the issue was received by the Dewan Rakyat secretariat.

He added that a decision on his emergency motion to debate the issue would be made soon.
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