Curbs on Tamil TV shows, Hindu priests in MalaysiaMay 31st, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by admin
Kuala Lumpur, May 31 (IANS) Malaysia’s Information Ministry has decided to ban screening of Tamil dramas imported from India and shown on its TV2 channel. Former minister and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president S. Samy Vellu said that the decision to ban such dramas was surprising as India was the only country that produced Tamil dramas for Malaysian viewers, Malaysia Namban newspaper said.
Vellu said that the MIC secretary general and Human Resources Minister S. Subramaniam had raised the matter at this week’s cabinet meeting.
Tamil programmes are popular among the 2.6 million Malaysian Indians, a bulk of whom are Tamil settlers.
The government has yet to lift curbs on getting priests and musicians for Hindu shrines who come from India.
Although the cabinet approved the entry of the foreign priests from India, the immigration department had yet to get the official green light, according to Penang state’s Hindu Endowment Board chief A. Thanashekaran.
He said the new applications for priests and temple musicians from India had been rejected by the immigration department, Tamil daily Makkal Osai reported.
Previously, the visas for the temple priests and temple musicians were extended for another one year at RM50 ($15 approx.) when their current visa period expired.
Their visas are only being extended on a month-to-month basis at the same cost.
He said that this decision had forced temple committees to incur extra expenditure and created problems when conducting daily prayers without a trained priest from India.
The Malaysian government says there is a single policy for priests that covers all religions, including Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians.
Representatives of the Sikhs and the Hindus have urged the government to relax curbs arguing that it is difficult to find priests and temple musicians locally because of the low salaries and years of training involved.
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