MP urges govt to review festive procession ban

THE government’s decision to disallow all festive processions, including the kavadi procession for Thaipusam and Chingay during the Chinese New Year celebration next year, could affect unity and harmony in the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) said the highlights of the Thaipusam festival were the kavadi and silver chariot processions and disallowing them would make the celebration meaningless.

“I request the Health Ministry and National Unity Ministry review the decision. The matter should be put forward for debate,” he said when submitting an emergency motion yesterday on the issue.

National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique on Tuesday told the Dewan Rakyat that the government decided to allow the Thaipusam celebrations to go on but without the kavadi and silver chariot procession.

She said the decision also included the Chingay procession.

According to Rayer, the public was questioning why state elections in Melaka and Sarawak could go ahead with a standard operating procedure in place, but small-scale religious festivals were disallowed.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon acknowledged that Rayer’s motion to debate the issue had been received by the Dewan Rakyat secretariat.

He said a decision on the emergency motion to debate the issue would be made soon.

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