Malaysia offers to train Hindu priests

December 8th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 8 (IANS) Malaysia’s Human Resource Minister S. Subramaniam, who is an ethnic Indian, said the government is prepared to arrange the training of ethnic Indian youths to become temple priests needed to conduct various ceremonies.Temple priests have traditionally come from India, but visa and job restrictions have resulted in shortages.

Subramaniam, who is also Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) secretary-general, said many temples were facing a shortage of priests to conduct daily prayers and were now seeking to recruit more priests from India, reported Tamil Nesan, a Tamil language daily.

But he said it was more important for the current batch of youngsters to be trained as priests so that they could continue to disseminate Indian culture and traditions to the future generation.

The minister also urged temple committees to organise more religious discourses so that the Indian community would be aware of their own customs, The Star newspaper said Monday.

The community generally has trouble recruiting local youth as they are required to stay vegetarian and be ready to work for RM 700 (approx. $175 approx) per month, which is considered a low salary.

Tamil Hindus comprise the bulk of the estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians, who form eight percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.

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