Chinese community leaders agree with SDMC’s move to limit Lunar New Year celebrations to only first day

Richard Wee

KUCHING (Jan 13): Chinese community leaders here have said that they agreed with the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) move of having the Chinese New Year celebration limited to only the first day this year, in light of the worsening Covid-19 situation.

Yesterday, the SDMC has decided that this year’s Chinese New Year celebration is only allowed to be celebrated on the first day of Chinese New Year, and that Chinese New Year visits are limited to immediate family members and only a maximum of 20 people at a time.

It will be celebrated on Feb 12 and 13 this year.

SDMC made the decision following the state’s first 3-digit Covid-19 cases on Monday with 153 cases, and declared a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) on the same day for Kuching, Sibu and Miri districts for two weeks starting today.

Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations (SFCA) president Dato Richard Wee said as the Covid situation was still serious, the community need to cooperate with the government in fighting this pandemic together.

“I am in agreement with the announcement made by the authority. I would like to urge all associations to follow the instruction given by SDMC and strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines for the coming Chinese New Year. We must show unity in combating the unprecedented outbreak of this pandemic,” he said when contacted today.

Tan Kun Gee

Hui Sing community leader Kapitan Tan Kun Gee also agreed with the move as the Chinese New Year celebration draws closer and the cases in the past few days have been increasing gradually.

“We cannot predict the number of cases in the coming weeks since the CMCO was put in place starting today. Probably after two weeks of CMCO if Sarawak returns back to a green zone status, the SDMC will make new decisions regarding the situation and overall, the SDMC has made the right decision regarding the current pandemic situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Kuching and Samarahan Divisions Chinese Association Women’s Section President Georgina Chong supported the move and the 20 person max limit for the celebration as it was not difficult to follow.

Georgina Chong

She added that celebrants should comply with this especially when the pandemic situation was so bad now, but at the same time, she hopes SDMC will make new decisions should the situation improve by then.

“While it’s not difficult to follow the 20 person limit, the Chinese New Year reunion dinner might be a challenge for some families as they have a large extended family which could easily exceed 20.

“To me personally, I don’t mind to miss this year’s celebration for safety’s sake if the situations is bad. Because there is always next time, and we can still celebrate next year. Most importantly people must follow the SOPs for the safety of everyone,” she said.

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