KUCHING: Adhering to State Disaster Management Committee’s (SDMC) standard operating procedures (SOP) during the Gawai celebrations can be a challenge especially in longhouses if the festive spirit gets the better of the need to observe social distancing.
Sounding out the caution, Datuk Seri Lau Kueng Chai, deputy treasurer-general of Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) called on longhouse chiefs and other community leaders to help monitor the celebrations in their communities.
“Community leaders especially Tuai Rumah can play a big role in ensuring the State Disaster Management Committee SOP are followed during the Gawai celebrations,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Sympathising with those who cannot go back to their longhouses or villages to celebrate Gawai with families and friends because of the conditional movement control order restrictions, Lau said their sacrifice will go a long way in helping efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
Despite the restrictions, he said the spirit of the Gawai should not be dampened as traditionally it is a time to count the blessings of harvests and look forward to better times ahead.
“Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the celebrations will have to be toned down and traditional practices like ‘miring’ may not be held for the safety families, relatives and friends, the significance and spirit of the festival is still the same,” he said.
Lau also sent Hari Raya greetings to Muslims in the state saying like Gawai this year’s celebration will be muted compared to those in the past as shaking hands to exchange greetings, going to mosques to pray and holding open house are prohibited.
“This is the new ‘normal’ we have to accept in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 but it should not take away the spirit and beautiful message of Aidilfitri.”
Lau is confident that the sacrifices and inconvenience the people have to put up with in adhering to the State Disaster Management Committee SOP will not be in vain.
“With the cooperation and efforts of everybody the end of the Covid-19 pandemic will come to pass in the meantime we all have to bear with hardship and challenges of measures taken by the authorities to curb the spread of the virus,” Lau said.