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Wednesday November 14, 2012

Carnival air at Deepavali do

KUALA LUMPUR: A carnival-like atmosphere prevailed at Batu Caves when thousands converged there to celebrate Deepavali.

The crowd included tourists who gathered there as early as 8am to attend the MIC open house at the temple grounds, where they were served vegetarian Indian dishes and treated to cultural performances.

German tourist Andrea Niepalla (pic), 29, said it was her first Deepavali celebration.

She said she enjoyed the unique experience of celebrating it with people of various religions.

“It was an eye-opener and I was happy to see all the different races mingling with one another,” she said.

“I also managed to try delicious local Indian dishes and would definitely come to Malaysia again.”

Michel Wilmer, 38, a businessman, said he enjoyed the Indian cultural performances and was enlightened by the community's traditions.

Niepalla and Wilmer were among the foreigners who joined Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the open house.

Nurse Leong Siew Ping, 35, said it was wonderful to meet the Prime Minister and other leaders at the event.

“I've always wanted to meet the Prime Minister,” she said.

Marketing manager Amir Abu Bakar, 45, said he brought his family for the celebration as early as 8am to avoid the massive traffic.

“My family has made it a tradition to attend the Deepavali celebrations here every year,” he said.

Also present at the event were Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, Malaysia's special envoy on infrastructure to India and South Asia Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and other Barisan leaders.

Najib later attended another Deepavali open house hosted by the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) in the city.

Speaking to reporters, MAICCI president Datuk K.K. Eswaran called on the Indian community to give their full support to the Government and be united to face the global challenges.

“We should not be taken in by those who go around telling lies and issuing empty promises,” he said.

He added that under Najib's leadership, the Government had done all it could for the Indian business community.

The open house also saw Eswaran giving Deepavali gifts to orphans and the elderly. Najib also went on stage to cut a cake.

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