Gov’t announces SOPs for ‘Maasi Magam’ festival, Chingay Parade

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The government has allowed prayer ceremonies at temples for the ‘Maasi Magam’ festival and the Chingay Parade in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOP) on the opening of non-Muslim houses of worship under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in a statement today informed that the decision was made following a presentation by the Ministry of National Unity (KPN) during the 12th Quartet Ministers Meeting yesterday, and after obtaining the views and recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

“The government will continue to give priority to religious festivals to be celebrated by the devotees involved but this flexibility should be utilised with a full sense of responsibility.

“Every SOP outlined by KPN must be complied with, not only for the safety and health of oneself, but also the people around us,” he said.

He said the SOP for the Maasi Magam festival would be implemented from Feb 16 to 19 and only fully vaccinated individuals were allowed to participate in religious activities, with strict adherence to physical distancing of at least one metre as well as the wearing of face masks.

The SOP, among others, stipulates that the travel and movement of chariots were allowed on the condition that there should not be more than 50 individuals from the temple management involved in the procession; no stopping at any location; and the names of those involved as well as the travel route must receive prior approval from the police.

Meanwhile, he said prayer ceremonies in conjunction with the Chingay Parade at the Johor Ancient Temple and Xing Gong are allowed from Feb 19 to 22, and no more than 100 members of the temple management will be allowed to take part in the street cleansing ceremony on Feb 19.

Hishammuddin said on Feb 20, the ceremony to transport deities from the Johor Ancient Temple to Xing Gong would be allowed, involving no more than 200 members of the temple management.

He said the main Chingay Parade event on Feb 21 was also allowed, with the movement of 11 decorated trucks accompanied by no more than 20 members of the temple management for each truck, and no devotees were allowed to participate in the procession.

According to the SOP, the return of the deities from Xing Gong to Johor Ancient Temple on Feb 22 is allowed with the presence of no more than 200 members of the temple management, while the names of those involved as well as the travel route for the parade must receive prior approval from the police.

The Maasi Magam festival is celebrated by the Indian community on Feb 17, while the Chingay Parade is celebrated by the ‘5 Clans’, namely Hainan, Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew and Tiong Hua from Feb 19 to 22 in Johor.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency