With just three days before CNY, Sabah official hints at further relaxation of MCO rules

Julia Chan
·2-min read
Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun suggested ethnic Chinese in Sabah may get to welcome the Lunar New Year with more fanfare than expected. — Bernama file pic
Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun suggested ethnic Chinese in Sabah may get to welcome the Lunar New Year with more fanfare than expected. — Bernama file pic

KOTA KINABALU, Feb 8 — The ethnic Chinese in Sabah may get to welcome the Lunar New Year with more fanfare than expected despite the current movement control order (MCO), Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun suggested today.

The Sabah minister for local government and housing hinted that some of the restrictions laid down in the MCO standard operating procedures issued by the National Security Council (NSC) and the state taskforce on Covid-19 could be dialled back for the festival.

“The government has been tuned in to the Chinese community and I believe the announcement will be welcomed by the community and make the Chinese New Year celebrations more joyous,” he said today.

He did not disclose further details, saying that he does not want to pre-empt the official announcement, which were in response to public requests.

“With the new easing of SOPs, I urge the people to continue to abide by the SOPs. In the previous MCOs, it was very strict, but now it is more like a CMCO,” he said.

Masidi who is also Sabah Covid-19 spokesman said statistics on the virus infections have been stabilising, adding that this could be maintained as long as society complies with the SOPs.

“With Chinese New Year coming at the end of this week, by all means, enjoy the new year but enjoy it responsibly. We don’t want a repeat of before, where we opened the floodgates at one point exceeded 1,000 cases a day,” he said.

Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, is a two-day public holiday in Malaysia. This year, it falls on February 12 and 13.

The NSC had earlier relaxed some of the SOPs, including allowing a maximum of 15 members of the same family living within 10km of each other to gather for their annual reunion dinner, customarily celebrated on Chinese New Year Eve after public backlash.

However, families are still banned from crossing districts and states to celebrate.

Sabah had been the epicentre of Malaysia’s third Covid-19 wave, which saw infections spread from the Borneo state across the South China Sea to the Malay peninsula after the state election in September.

The state persistently recorded the most number of Covid-19 cases nationwide for months, but has since been displaced by Selangor.

Sabah saw 169 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, raising the cumulative number to 50,543 to date.

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