PRESS STATEMENT BY YB CHONG ENG, STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCILLOR FOR WOMEN & FAMILY DEVELOPMENT, GENDER INCLUSIVENESS & RELIGIONS OTHER THAN ISLAM ON 19TH MARCH 2020:
“Obey Movement Control Order – Delay Ching Ming Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day”
The Penang State Executive Councillor for Women & Family Development, Gender Inclusiveness and Religions other than Islam, YB Chong Eng, urged all Penangites to delay Ching Ming Festival during this Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
She took Italy as an example, saying that the Italians took their national lockdown period lightly causing a great spike of confirmed cases from 888 (28th February) to 12,462 cases within 13 days. As of today, there are more than 35,000 Italians infected with Covid-19 and 2978 deaths reported.
As of 18th March, the number of confirmed cases in Malaysia stood at 790 with 2 fatalities. YB Chong Eng emphasised that if the Movement Control Order fails within this crucial period, the pandemic will be out of control, paralysing our medical system and personnel and thus, greatly impact most of the Malaysians. “The conditions in Malaysia will most likely end up like Italy,” she added. She urged that this period is crucial and each individual needs to cooperate to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
After the Movement Control Order was imposed by the Prime Minister, YB Chong Eng, the assemblywoman of Padang Lalang and the EXCO for Religions Other than Islam has received quite a few enquiries asking whether tomb sweeping is allowed during this period of time. In response to this problem, she said that she has consulted Chinese customs experts and referred to announcements made by Union of Malaysia Chinese Cemetery Associations, she hopes that everyone should abide by the movement control order, stay at home and deferred tomb sweeping activities, to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
According to the notice issued by Union of Malaysia Chinese Cemetery Associations, although Ching Ming Festival falls on April 4 this year, tomb sweeping can be carried out 10 days after the actual day, each family can also worship at home during this MCO. If the situation improves after MCO, people can still go for tomb sweeping.
She added, although filial piety and respect for elders are important, we need to first take care of ourselves and people surrounding us. It is important that all stakeholders give their full cooperation during the movement control period as doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health care workers in the front line have worked tirelessly to contain the spread of this disease. “We need your support to stay at home for yourself and your families, so that the frontliners would be able to return home to meet their loved ones.”