by BERNAMA / pic by ARIF KARTONO
ALOR SETAR – Kedah’s decision not to observe Thaipusam which falls on Jan 28, as a public holiday, is not meant to deny the rights of Hindus in the state.
Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said however, worshippers can still celebrate the festival by adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Everyone has been asked to stay at home following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO). All this while, Thaipusam is not a public holiday in Kedah except for the last two years, it has been made as ‘cuti peristiwa’ (special holiday).
“The decision has nothing to do with the intention to deny the rights of anyone in this state. Even before Thaipusam was made cuti peristiwa, it had been celebrated freely and merrily in Kedah,” he said in a statement here today.
Yesterday, in a press conference after chairing the state executive council meeting said for this year, Thaipusam would not be a public holiday following the current COVID-19 situation.
The decision has triggered criticism from several political leaders, including Human Resources Minister and MIC deputy president, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan who described it as bias.
Muhammad Sanusi said the decision should not be politicised as the country was now facing a bigger issue, namely the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the MCO and Emergency Ordinance currently in force, any festival can be celebrated on a moderate scale and by strictly complying with the SOP. Do not politicise everything. This is a matter of safety and the lives of all Malaysians.
“If MIC wants Thaipusam to be observed as a public holiday, they can ask the federal government to announce it as a public holiday for the whole country. Kedah already has a decision on this matter,” he said.