Pray and play again

(Left and top) The funfair rides in the Batu Caves temple grounds have been set-up. — STUART MICHAEL/The Star

THE funfair at Batu Caves that has received much protest from various quarters, is up and ready for this year’s Thaipusam celebration despite there being no approval from the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS).

A visit by StarMetro revealed that most of the funfair rides have already been set up.

The council wanted the funfair operator Green City Amusement Fair Enterprise to get approval from the Department of Safety and Health (DOSH) before it gave the temple committee the green light to hold the funfair.

MPS president Suliman Abd Rahman said the council would not approve for the funfair to be set up at the temple grounds unless the funfair operator had received approval from DOSH.

There should also be an assembly point for the people to gather should there be an emergency, he added.

MPS licensing director Affendei Samingan said DOSH requirements allowed the operator to set up the funfair and would then conduct safety checks before it is approved.

“So far, we have not received any letter from DOSH yet,’’ he said.

A worker walking pass the funfair that is being set up in Batu Caves.

In an earlier statement, Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) president Datuk Mohan Shan said the association was against having the funfair within the temple grounds as it would be too congested and there was not enough space for the large crowd.

Federation of Non-government Organisations and Malaysian Hindu Temples vice-president A. Rajarethinam had sent a letter of complaint to DOSH, Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali and the police last week saying that it was an insult to Hindus as Thaipusam was a religious event.

Thaipusam Task Force co-founder and chairman Shri Ramaji said the task force was against the funfair from the beginning but a late approval from DOSH saw the funfair being held last year.

“Last year, there were multiple blackouts with some stretching for hours inside the temple grounds,” he said, suggesting the blackout was caused by the high power consumption for the funfair.

“The MB (Azmin) had to deliver his speech outside the temple grounds because of the blackout.

“In 2014, when there was no funfair in Batu Caves, tourists and devotees had an open space to rest and relax,” said Shri Ramaji, adding that the funfair was a costly affair for parents and a clear distraction to devotees.

The funfair at Batu Caves has been around for many years but previously it was just the manually operated four-seater ferris wheel.

It had evolved to a much bigger scale in the last decade, taking over about 100 trading lots to operate.

In 2011, MPS did not issue or renew any permit for a funfair at Batu Caves following the Selangor government’s directive on not having entertainment and gaming activities in places of worship.

However, the funfair operator went ahead and a summons was issued under Section 27 of the Local Government Act 1976 for operating the funfair without a licence.

It was learnt that the funfair continued to operate in 2012 and 2013, but it was not known if they had been given approval.

The only year there was no funfair was in 2014.

Last year, DOSH approved the funfair just four days before Thaipusam.

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