KUALA LUMPUR – The arrival of this year’s Chinese New Year festival is celebrated on a moderate scale nationwide, with strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOP) to curb the spread of COVID-19.
After a muted Chinese New year celebration for the past two years, the Chinese community took the opportunity to usher in the Year of the Tiger with loved ones and close family members.
In SABAH, traditional dragon and lion dances enlivened the festive atmosphere amid strict compliance with the SOP set by the government.
The prayer ceremonies for Buddhist devotees were also held with 50 per cent capacity at temples such as the Kuan Loon Tien Temple, while visits among friends and relatives added to the air of festivity.
In SELANGOR, the Chinese community ushered in the New Year with moderate activities following the unpredictable weather, especially the massive floods that hit the state recently.
A check found devotees began turning up at the Kwan Imm Temple, Jalan Bandar Raya in Klang, as early as 7 am to perform religious rituals and RELA personnel were also present to control the crowd and ensure the ceremonies are carried out safely.
In NEGERI SEMBILAN, Bernama checks at the San Kau Tong Temple in Seremban found the Chinese New Year celebrated on a moderate scale and devotees arriving since early morning to perform their rituals with strict SOPs.
San Kau Tong Temple chairman, Mah Kin Hock said only 250 visitors were allowed in at any one time from 8 am to 12.30 pm, and personnel from RELA and Negeri Sembilan Unity Department were there to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, a Chinese national, Chen Ling Bin, who has not been able to return to his hometown in Xinjiang, China since three years ago, described this year’s celebration as meaningful despite being away from his family.
The Chinese community in MELAKA also ushered in the New Year on a moderate scale.
State Unity, Community, Relations, Manpower and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Ngwe Hee Sem reminded the Chinese community not to be complacent in complying with the SOPs even when they are among family members.
In PENANG, the Chinese community ushered in the New Year in a cheerful mood despite complying with the SOPs set.
Lam Chong Sun, 54, said after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration was very meaningful for him as his famlily members could gather together for the traditional reunion dinner and enjoy the festivity.
“This year, several of my family members including those from afar, returned to celebrate in Penang. My daughter-in-law and grandson who live in Selangor are also here to celebrate with us,” he said.
In KEDAH, Bernama checks at several temples in Alor Setar found that the religious ceremonies went smoothly with devotees complying with the SOP set.
Ahmad Ibrahim, 52, when met outside Kong Hock Keong Temple at Simpang Empat, said he drove his 60-year-old male relative to perform his ritual prayers there as he does not have transport.
“My late mother was a convert, so I have several Chinese relatives. Coincidentally, I am free today, so I gave him a ride here and perhaps after this, we will visit other relatives around Alor Setar to celebrate the New Year,” he added.
In JOHOR, checks by Bernama at Johor Kuno (Ancient) Temple located in the heart of Johor Bahru and established since 1870, found the Chinese community arriving as early as 8 am to perform prayer ceremonies.
Temple chairman Lee Poo Sin said the permitted capacity was 50 per cent of the total temple area.
“Since morning the temple was only 30 per cent full,” he told Bernama when met today.
In PERLIS, among others, the Chinese community prayed for Malaysia to be free from the COVID-19 pandemic and a return to normal life.
Chan Michael, 60, said he hoped that Malaysians would not give up in the fight against COVID-19 by complying with the SOPs which was for the good of all.
In PERAK, checks by Bernama found Buddhist devotees offering prayers at Nam Thean Tong Temple in Ipoh as early as 8 am in conjunction with the Chinese New Year festive season.
The temple’s treasurer, Loh Kam Mui, said visitors are allowed to visit the temple up to 5 pm today and are required to wear a face mask, scan the MySejahtera code and observe physical distancing to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
In SARAWAK, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sarawak (SUPP) held a virtual Chinese New Year celebration which was streamed live via the party’s Facebook and attended by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and the party’s top leadership.
All those present at the live session also took the opportunity to partake in the ‘yee sang’ prosperity toss.