KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese New Year celebrations are only allowed among family members from the same household this year, said Malaysian Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
"Family reunion dinners are allowed at their residences only among family members from the same household," he said in a press briefing on Thursday (Feb 4).
"House visits are not allowed, as are cross-district and interstate activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year," he added.
Mr Ismail Sabri, who is also defence minister, said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the festival were drawn up after reviewing various aspects and the advice of the health ministry.
All states in Malaysia except Sarawak are currently placed under the movement control order (MCO) until Feb 18 to rein in the spread of COVID-19, as total cases surpassed 230,000.
The minister added that cultural activities and performances such as lion and dragon dances, lantern and chingay parades as well as Chinese opera performances are also prohibited.
Temple prayers are only limited to five members from the temple's management committee.
"The Chinese community is encouraged to perform prayers at home," Mr Ismail Sabri said.
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He added that the federal government would let the Sarawak state government decide on its Chinese New Year celebration policy.
At the same briefing, Mr Ismail Sabri also said that three business activities - night markets (pasar malam), hair salons and car wash services - would be allowed to operate from Friday onwards, with strict SOPs.
These would include 1m distancing between each stall, as well as separate entries and exits.
Salons could operate for hair-cutting only, he added. Other beauty procedures are still barred.