Malaysia may declare holiday for Tamil festival

April 9th, 2008 - 3:42 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 9(IANS) Malaysia’s Kedah state may declare Tamil festival Thaipusam a state holiday, its Mentri Besar (chief minister) Azizan Abdul Razak said. He was quoted as saying in Tamil journal Malaysia Nanban that the temple management committees submitted their memorandums to the previous government for many years but nothing had materialised so far.

He said he was aware that Thaipusam was celebrated grandly in this state and nearly 600,000 people converged on Sungei Petani for this annual celebration.

The state executive council would look at it and an announcement would be made in due course, he told reporters after attending a people’s gathering with the Mantri Besar organised by Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan Sunday.

Thaipusam, the festival when Tamils cook and distribute rice and milk, and go out in colourful procession, is a holiday in parts of Malaysia that has two million Tamil Hindus.

The holiday was extended to capital Kuala Lumpur and some other areas this year by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, following appeals from leaders of the community.

Penang, an opposition-ruled state like Kedah, will set up an inter-religious goodwill council to enhance religious tolerance, understanding and respect among people of different races and religions, its Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Tuesday.

The council will comprise government officials and religious experts, he said after receiving a delegation, The Sun newspaper said.

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