PETALING JAYA: Feedback from religious associations for the annual Chingay festival will be tabled in the upcoming Covid-19 pandemic management quartet committee, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The MCA president said this following an engagement session on Sunday (Jan 23) that was attended by National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, Johor Baru Tiong Hua Federation and five Tiong Hua associations in Johor Baru.
“They made a presentation on the proposed SOP for the Chingay festival by taking into account the current Covid-19 situation and a strict adherence to SOP.
“Input was tabled on methods to prevent Covid-19 during the Chingay festival last year and also a guarantee to abide by SOP on parades this year.
“Findings of this discussion will be tabled to the committee on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr Wee in a statement on Facebook on Sunday.
On Dec 7 last year, Halimah told the Dewan Rakyat that the government had decided to allow Thaipusam celebrations to be held on Jan 18 to go on but without the silver chariot procession.
She said the prohibition on processions was also extended to the Chingay flag-bearing procession.
Meanwhile, Dr Wee said during the engagement session, Halimah explained the SOP for Chinese New Year celebrations in detail, which includes SOP for non-Muslim religious places of worship.
“Those who attended understood that the SOP outlined by the government is for the people’s benefit,” he added.
At the same time, Dr Wee said he and Halimah visited the Johor Ancient Temple, which hosts the Chingay festival annually.
“We were welcomed by leaders in the Johor Baru Chinese community and the committee of the temple gave a briefing regarding the history of the temple and the Chingay celebration.
“We were also informed that the Chingay parade is a normal practice every year,” said Dr Wee.
The Chingay Festival has been held in Johor annually since 1870 and falls on Feb 21 this year.
It is one of the main tourism programmes in Johor where thousands of local and foreign tourists from various countries would attend.
The event takes place mainly on Jalan Wong Ah Fook in the city centre here.
During the festival, deities worshipped by the five main Johor clans – Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese and Hainan – are taken on a 7.8km-long tour on foot to bless the city and its people.