KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The government should reconsider the standard operating procedures (SOP) that prohibit the processions during Thaipusam and Chingay festivals next year, said Jelutong MP RSN Rayer.

He asked the Dewan Rakyat today to debate the matter, claiming there were many public complaints about the prohibition that were imposed despite the holding of the Melaka state election last month and the ongoing Sarawak state election.

“Due to the Omicron variant, the unity minister said Thaipusam and Chingay processions were cancelled. However, the public is wondering how state elections in Melaka and Sarawak can go on but a smaller scale religious festival can’t?

“I ask the Health Ministry and National Unity Ministry to relook this matter as these are issues that affect the harmony of the country. The highlights of these two festivals are the kavadi and silver chariot procession and these can be done with strict SOPs as well,” he said.

Yesterday, National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique told the Dewan Rakyat the government has decided to give the green light for the Thaipusam celebrations to go ahead but the silver chariot procession is not allowed.

She said she had meetings with religious leaders from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Johor, Kedah and Perak, where Thaipusam celebrations are held on a large scale to decide on the cancellation.