Sepang council avoids food wastage at Ponggal event


  • Metro News
  • Wednesday, 05 Feb 2020

A participant watching over her pot at the Ponggal celebration in Sepang. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

NO FOOD was wasted despite 385 pots of milk boiling over at a mass Ponggal celebration in Taman Murni, Sepang.

Organised by Sepang Municipal Council in conjunction with Visit Sepang 2020, it was said to be the biggest Ponggal event in Selangor with a full day of activities that included silambam demonstration, kabbaddi competition, greasy pole climbing, kolam drawing and colouring contests.

The programme also featured the tradition of competing to see whose pot of milk would be the first to boil over, but Sepang councillor P. Sivakumar advised participants

not to proceed with making the sweetened rice if they did not intend to eat it.

“People usually do not eat much sweetened rice. So, to keep the tradition, we held the competition but most participants stopped cooking after the milk boiled over and just drank the milk instead of adding rice, ” he said.

Socioeconomic empowerment, development and caring government committee chairman

V. Ganabatirau, who was also at the event, applauded Sivakumar’s foresight.

“I was concerned upon seeing the number of pots at the event, knowing how much milk, rice and sugar was going to go to waste.

“But I was impressed to find out that the competition stopped when the milk boiled over.

“I truly appreciate the effort taken to prevent food wastage without compromising the spirit of the festival. This is in line with Selangor’s stand of using allocations to empower the people, ” he said.

“Before 2008, much of the allocation for the Indian community was used to organise dozens of celebrations during Deepavali and Ponggal.

“But now we limit such celebrations to one or two, and use the rest of the money to help the underprivileged in the community.

“For example, millions of ringgit from the allocations were used to help estate workers’ children.

“Over the years, about RM1.3mil has been given to subsidise their school transport by giving RM300 yearly to over 4,000 students.

“Another RM500,000 has been given out in financial aid to about 150 students who are pursuing tertiary education.

“We also give cash incentives of between RM100 and RM200 to UPSR high achievers and cash vouchers to needy families for Deepavali. We do not use middlemen, to avoid giving commissions.

“And with cash distributions, every ringgit is spent transparently, ” added Ganabatirau.

Also present were Communi-cations and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu.

Besides the line-up of events, the more than 1,000 attendees were treated to performances, lucky draw, breakfast and banana leaf lunch.

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