The government will allow members of the public to celebrate the Qing Ming festival this year, which falls on 4 April
In a statement, the Ministry of National Unity (KPN) said the festival — also known as tomb-sweeping day — will be permitted in all states, but prayers at cemeteries and columbariums must adhere to stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The SOPs will apply from 20 March to 18 April, which is 14 days before and after the actual festival date.
KPN said that the SOPs were decided after the ministry took the views of the National Security Council (MKN), the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Chinese Cemetery Management Association, and other religious groups.
The SOPs are separated into different categories, depending on areas and whether devotees will be conducting their rituals at cemeteries or columbariums
For people living in areas under the Movement Control Order (MCO), not more than six people are allowed to be at the cemeteries at any given time and each session is limited to 90 minutes.
For columbariums, only 10 people are allowed at any one time in MCO areas.
As for states under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), attendance is limited to 50% capacity of the cemeteries or columbariums to enable physical distancing.
Whereas for the states under Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), the number of visitors is subjected to the capacity of the columbarium and physical distancing must still be practised at all times.
Regardless of areas, praying at cemeteries and columbariums are only allowed between 5am and 6pm
Prayers at columbariums must be completed within 60 minutes and each session will be separated by 30 minutes for sanitisation.
The ministry stressed that interstate travel is still not permitted for the festival.
According to the MOH website, all states are no longer under MCO, except for some areas in Sabah
Bernama reported that Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Kelantan, and Sarawak are currently under CMCO.
Perlis, Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Putrajaya, and Labuan are currently under RMCO. From 19 March, Kedah, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan will fall under RMCO as well.
However, some areas in Kedah — namely Kuala Muda and Kulim — will still be under CMCO.
The Star reported on Monday, 15 March, that MCO will be extended in Nabawan district, Sabah for 14 days beginning today, 17 March.
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