Putrajaya greenlights reunion dinners, home visits for CNY 2022 but says no open houses, and banquets by invitation only

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A temple worker sprays disinfectant at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, January 19, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A temple worker sprays disinfectant at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, January 19, 2022. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — House visits and family reunion dinners are permitted under the newly announced standard operating procedures (SOP) for Chinese New Year celebrations, the National Unity ministry announced today.

Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique said the National Security Council’s SOP for Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (social activities) currently being enforced will be applicable during the celebration period.

The proposals on the new SOPs, she said, were tabled in the Covid-19 ministerial meeting and subsequently approved.

“In the past during the movement control order, house visits were only limited to close family members within a 10km radius.

“This time, however, house visits throughout the new year celebrations between January 31 and February 15 will be allowed,” she said in a press conference here.

Despite not spelling out the maximum number of people allowed to attend reunion dinners, Halimah said such gatherings were usually attended by immediate family members and close relatives.

She added that open houses are not allowed.

“Chinese New Year banquets are permitted only to those who have received invitations,” she said.

The National Security Council’s SOP stated that the number of people within the premises is limited to 50 per cent of its capacity.

As for celebrations to usher in the Hokkien New Year or Festivals of the Jade Emperor celebrated on the ninth day of the Chinese lunar calendar, Halimah said they were permitted as long as it is confined within the perimeter of one’s house.

She also said Chap Goh Meh celebrations — which fall on the 15th day of the lunar calendar — are allowed at the respective non-Muslim houses of worship in accordance with the SOPs under Phase Four of the NRP.

Traditional dances would also be allowed to be performed, subject to the SOPs for creative industries stipulated under Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

On top of the SOPs announced, Halimah said existing rules such as ensuring devotees register their attendance via MySejahtera, temperature checks, and ensuring attendees are fully vaccinated must still be observed at the non-Muslim houses of worship.

Separately, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong welcomed the announcement, adding that MCA will not be organising its customary open house but will have a closed-door reception instead to comply with the SOPs.

“We hope the public can understand as we have to show good examples to the people and only those invited will come.

“We have to strictly follow the SOP, otherwise we don’t lead by example,” he said.

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