‘Keep politics out of Diwali celebrations’

October 10th, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Ipoh (Malaysia), Oct 10 (IANS) The businessmen of Little India here have urged squabbling politicians to focus on trade, and not politics, for the annual Diwali fair.As differences become public between Perak chief of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) G. Rajoo and Perak executive councillor (minister) A. Sivanesan, Little India traders here said they just want to ply their trade and make a living.

MIC has been organising the fair for the last 16 years. But it was defeated in the March elections, that passed the control of Perak state to the opposition.

A 44-year-old woman flower trader, who declined to be named, said it was not right for both parties to fight over the matter.

“Diwali is the festival of light during which peace and harmony should be upheld,” she was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper Friday.

“If the squabbling continues till the celebration, our business will be affected,” she added.

A textile business owner, who also declined to be named, said the traders’ businesses should be the main priority.

“We are only hoping for good business, and we don’t want to be dragged into anything political,” said the 32-year-old.

Most businessmen are loath to take sides as to who should organise the fair.

Restaurant worker, A. Ratnam, 65, said it was not important which party should hold the celebrations.

“Whoever is holding the event should just make sure it is well organised for the benefit of the people,” he said.

“If the Pakatan Rakyat state government thinks that they can organise a good event, then do it,” he added.

However, a grocery shop owner, who only wanted to be known as Madhi, said MIC should hold the event.

“By right, MIC should hold the event because they have 16 years’ experience of doing it. Why deny them the chance of holding it?” he asked.

“Since MIC had already paid for the parking space and the applications to hold the event have been approved, let them do it,” he added.

The 46-year-old also said that the state government could organise a separate event elsewhere.

Sivanesan meanwhile told Rajoo to drop the issue and respect the government of the day.

He said Rajoo should know that by administrative law, a decision made by the state government was final.

“When the government was under the Barisan Nasional, we never made any attempt to hold the celebration,” he said.

“He should just drop the issue and respect us. At the end of the day, what is important is the celebration, which is to celebrate Diwali,” he said.

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