Be more sensitive to other cultures, Najib tells Perikatan govt over CNY SOP debacle

Ashman Adam
·2-min read
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 13, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court October 13, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Umno MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak has today joined the public criticism against the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Chinese New Year (CNY) announced by his own party’s Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.

In a Facebook post, the disgraced former prime minister said the rules by the National Security Council (NSC) does not provide an accurate picture of the Chinese community’s culture.

“But the SOP of only allowing those from the same household to hold a reunion dinner does not mean anything it will be just a normal dinner.

“We can work along with foreign workers in factories and construction sites; mosques are partially open for Friday prayers, but why is the Chinese community not allowed to have dinner with their elders during the reunion dinner?” he asked.

He also added that the NSC should have received feedback from other ethnic groups for cultural events such as this beforehand, as to not come off as being insensitive to other cultures.

“Someone has really messed up here. This SOP must be retracted quickly and rectified,” he said.

Ismail Sabri has earlier defended the Covid-19 standard operation procedures SOPs announced for the Chinese New Year celebrations against public criticism, saying the protocols were only passed after engaging dozens of stakeholder groups.

The senior and defence minister said he is “baffled” by the public backlash that followed his announcement of the SOPs yesterday, when they had been prepared and endorsed by associations and bodies that represent the ethnic Chinese community.

The SOP debacle quickly became the subject of ridicule both from the public and politicians from all sides, who said the regulations have come to characterise the government’s poor response to the pandemic.

Despite enforcing Emergency rule and a new round of lockdown that started three weeks ago, the rate of daily positive cases has continued to soar.

On social media, people began creating memes to mock the SOPs alongside several elected representatives who joked that families could now shift their reunion dinners from home to the night market, and would still be deemed to have complied with Covid-19 regulations.

The NSC published a FAQ yesterday detailing the SOPs, among them, limiting the customary reunion dinner only to members of the same household.

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