KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin hopes that the ‘Year of the Ox’ will lift the spirits of and give new strength to Malaysians to continue to break the chain of COVID-19 infection and revive the country’s economy.
Despite being faced with constraints following the pandemic, the Prime Minister believes that the Chinese New Year could still be celebrated with great joy and excitement in the country.
“I hope this year’s Chinese New Year will bring happiness and prosperity to all Malaysians.
“This festival, celebrated by the Chinese community in the country, is proof of the mutual respect among the people of various races and religions,” he said in his Chinese New Year address that was broadcast on local television stations today.
The Prime Minister, who also took the opportunity to convey his family’s Happy Chinese New Year greetings, said that the pandemic had resulted in not only this festival but also those of other races and religions in the country to be celebrated in a more cautious manner.
“We need to maintain this strength, which is one of the main thrusts of the national unity of the country that we love. Hopefully, we will be able to recapture the prosperity together,” he said.
He hoped that everyone would use the festival to enrich themselves in the cultures and traditions of Malaysia’s various races and religions, as well as to strengthen mutual respect among one another.
Commenting on certain standard operating procedures (SOP), including the interdistrict and interstate travelling restrictions as set by the government, he said it was not meant to restrict freedom but for the common good so as to protect lives, especially our loved ones.
“This is important because our priority right now is to break the chain of COVID-19 infection and protect the lives of the people,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that having taken into consideration the traditional reunion dinner for the festival, the government had eased its restrictions by allowing it to be attended by family members staying nearby and up to 15 people so that it would be a meaningful celebration.
He also said that religious activities at Chinese houses of worship were also permitted in accordance with the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOP).
“What is important is that you practice self-control at all times. Adopt the practice of wearing face masks, physical distancing and washing hands always. If any family members are from the high-risk group, protect them.
“For those living far away or students who have to stay at university or college campuses, take advantage of technology to make video calls to stay in touch with family and friends,” he said.
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