“The Thaipusam celebration this year was not as lively as before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we should prioritise the safety of all,” shared R. Kumar, 43, one of the visitors of the Sri Subramaniar Temple, Gunung Cheroh, yesterday.
According to him, the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) throughout the second biggest festival of the Hindus was carried out well and the visitors felt safe.
“Although it is not as lively as before, for me it is sufficient to be able to attend prayers and celebrate it modestly with family.
“The nation is still facing the threat of COVID-19 in addition to the emergence of the worrying Omicron variant. I hope one day our country will be free from COVID-19 and we can live freely like before,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah, M Vivekananda, explained that the festival still needs to be celebrated moderately as the issue of COVID-19 has yet to end.
“We abide by all the SOPs set by the government which included mandatory wearing of face masks by visitors and practising distancing.
“Before the Movement Control Order (PKP), the festival was attended by over 400,000 visitors but this time, the chariot procession was only joined by 100 registered individuals.
“The atmosphere was not as lively as no food was distributed and no stalls were opened. We are a little sad because for two years the small traders could not set up their businesses nearby during the celebration.
“We hope the nation will recover from COVID-19 and have the chance to hold a lively celebration like before.”
M Vivekananda added that the Thaipusam celebration at the main location at Sri Subramaniar Temple, Gunung Cheroh was under control and in compliance with the SOPs.
The temple premises was also monitored by the police (PDRM), the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) while staff members of the Ministry of Health (KKM) performed sanitisation.
“We ensure that the sanitisation process is performed every 30 minutes for 12 sessions in the temple throughout the festival. The safety and comfort of visitors were our utmost priorities,” he added.