KUALA LUMPUR: Family reunion dinners for Chinese New Year will now be permitted, says the National Unity Ministry.
In a statement Sunday (Feb 7), it said this would be limited to 15 family members living within a 10km radius and must not involve interstate or inter-district travel.
It said the revised standard operation procedure (SOP) was the result of a National Security Council technical meeting chaired by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sunday.
On Thursday (Feb 4), the government had announced that only those living under the same roof could be present for the reunion dinner and prayers.
This caused an uproar within the Chinese community, especially among those whose family members live nearby.
Additionally, prayers at temples are not allowed except for five of the temple’s committee members while lion dances, lantern processions, Chingay and other stage performances are prohibited, as is cross-border travel.
Ismail Sabri subsequently said he was puzzled by the criticism over the SOP, and claimed discussions were held with several religious and cultural bodies.
However, groups which attended the meetings said they were not told of the eventual decision and were there only to give their views.
They had said that they were caught off-guard with the SOP that was announced.
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