Malaysians poke fun at CNY measures banning house visits but allowing night markets

The ‘no’ symbol over a photo of a family tossing salad. Photo: Coconuts
The ‘no’ symbol over a photo of a family tossing salad. Photo: Coconuts

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has become the source of mockery since announcing new health safety measures for Chinese New Year celebrations yesterday. 

Malaysians, including comedian Jason Leong, have taken to social media to joke about the new COVID-19 safety measures, which limit reunion dinners to members of the same household. However, night markets, where large crowds can happen, and hair salons, have been allowed to operate. 

“So during this [Movement Control Order], I cannot visit my parents for [Chinese New Year] as we live in different houses but it’s okay,” he said. “My family and extended relatives are all meeting up to at least say hi and exchange angpows. At the nearest pasar malam.”

Ang pows are red packets of money traditionally handed out during Chinese New Year. Pasar malam is a night market in the Malay language. 

The country has also banned house visits, lion dances, and opera performances during the occasion, with worship only limited to five committee members of each temple. 

Read: House visits, lion dances, operas not allowed during Chinese New Year: Ismail Sabri

Others jokingly suggested transforming homes into salons or night markets to meet the requirements. 

“Convert your house to hair salon or pasar malam then can already lah visiting this CNY,” @Bongkerz said.

Then there were those who were quick to point out that a reunion dinner participated by those living in the same house would just be a regular family dinner

“CNY SOP is a joke,” Lim Yi Wei, 31, from the Democratic Action Party said. “Reunion dinner with people living in the same house = literally normal family dinner.”


With such ridiculous measures for Chinese New Year, one can only imagine how absurd things can get when Hari Raya Aidilfitri comes in May. Twitter user @DaudSuratman gave a wild prediction: 

“I am half-expecting the following SOP for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri: ‘Tomb visits are only allowed for beings within the same graveyard only.’”

The new safety measures for Chinese New Year will be applied to nearly all of Malaysia amid the Movement Control Order lockdown. 

Other stories to check out:

Malaysia extends lockdown till Feb. 18 while it works on Chinese New Year COVID rules

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