KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has said it was not involved with drawing up the controversial standard operating procedure (SOP) for Chinese New Year (CNY) festivities.
Malaysiakini and The Star Online both reported Huazong president Tan Sri Goh Tian Chuan as saying his organisation was neither invited to nor participated in the talks that took place on January 12 and 18.
“If we were invited by the relevant government departments or agencies, we certainly would have sent our representatives to provide our views and proposals on the issue,” he said, as reported by The Star Online, today.
Goh also said that while Huazong recognised the impact of Covid-19 on the country, and supported the movement control order (MCO) and related government SOP, it would defend the reunion dinner as an integral part of Chinese tradition.
He suggested that families who live within a radius of 10km in the same district should be allowed to gather for dinner as is the tradition on the eve of Chinese New Year, which falls on February 12 and 13.
“When there are some shortcomings in the SOP which caused dissatisfaction among the people, the government should take serious note of it and take immediate action to rectify it,” he reportedly said.
Yesterday, the National Unity Ministry said it would appeal to the National Security Council for a review of the controversial Chinese New Year SOP after taking into account the public’s reaction.
The ministry claimed it had drafted the SOP after discussions with Huazong and 20 other religious and Chinese cultural organisations. This was denied by Goh.
Malaysiakini also reported the chief abbess of Fo Guang Shan, Jue Cheng, as admitting that the Buddhist organisation was invited to the discussions, but that it had only attended the first meeting on January 12.
She confirmed that there were two meetings, and several NGOs had attended the meetings.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle have questioned the ban on family visits during Chinese New Year celebrations when other business sectors are allowed to open.
National Unity Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker also took to social media to vent his frustrations over the SOP.
“This SOP must be quickly withdrawn and rectified. This is not an SOP but a forbidden city,” said the MCA senator in a Facebook post earlier this week.