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GEORGE TOWN, Jan 14 -- The Penang government today appealed to the National Security Council (MKN) and National Unity Ministry to reconsider the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set for the Thaipusam celebration.
Deputy Chief Minister II, Prof Dr P. Ramasamy, who is also Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) chairman, said the official appeal will be submitted today to specifically seek a relaxation of SOPs for the Thaipusam celebrations at the Thanneermalai Shree Balathandayuthapani Devasthanam Temple (Hilltop Temple).
“Whether the appeal is accepted or not, we will adhere to the SOPs set. However, we hope for a relaxation (of the SOPs) for this celebration,” he told reporters at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR), here, today.
Meanwhile, Hilltop Temple chairman, Datuk R. Subramaniam, has listed four things that the state government is appealing for, namely the age limit allowed for fully vaccinated individuals to attend the temple; an extension of the temple’s operating hours; attendance capacity at the temple be increased to 3,000 devotees, and the number of persons escorting the chariots be allowed up to a total of 500 persons.
He hoped that the appeal would be given due consideration by the MKN and the National Unity Ministry.
On Wednesday, National Unity Minister, Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, announced that the “paal kudam” (carrying of milk pots) ceremony, prayer activities, and the chariot procession would be allowed, without involving the “kavadi” ceremony for the Thaipusam festival this year.
According to her, all the SOPs set for the Thaipusam celebration were made based on the recommendations of the temple management as well as being based on health risk assessment and prevention of COVID-19 transmission, including the threat of the Omicron variant.
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