By John Isaac
THE Sarawak Disaster Management Committee has allowed up to eight members of a family to go to graves and only two at columbariums or memorial halls for Qing Ming from March 20 to April 14.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) drawn up by the state’s Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) and released today, said no inter-zone travel was permitted for those observing Qing Ming.
According to reports in the Borneo Post, the visiting time at the cemeteries have been fixed at 4am to noon and at columbariums or memorial halls at 8am to 4pm.
Besides prescribing the precautionary measures to take at the locations, it also said that the elderly, children below 12 years old and individuals with chronic diseases should refrain from participating in the event.
On Monday, the Federation of Chinese Associations Sarawak had proposed to Unifor to allow the number of people involved in the coming tomb-sweeping activities to be increased to 12, seven more than that in the SOP for last year.
Its president Dato Richard Wee said they had brought their proposal to Unifor, adding that their suggestion was based on the SOP recently announced for Peninsular Malaysia.
Last year’s Qing Ming Festival coincided with the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), resulting in many members of the Chinese community calling off their annual activities at cemeteries.
Qing Ming Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day is an occasion for chinese families to clean the tombs of their ancestors as well as to pray and make ritual offerings at the cemeteries.