Vibrant start to festivities

THE Little India enclave in Penang was filled with a festive spirit during the Maxis Hotlink Deepavali Carnival 2013 as visitors from all walks of life thronged the event.

Themed ‘Deepa Oli’ which means ‘Rays of Light’, the carnival was organised by telco operator Maxis Bhd together with the Penang Hindu Endowment Board as well as the Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Penang (MICCI).

The two-day carnival over the weekend saw the streets of Little India bursting with a myriad of colours and music, and with Indian traditional dances and drums being played.

Maxis Bhd sales and service head Tan Lay Han said the company was proud to be a part of the single largest festival of its kind in Malaysia.

“At Maxis, our mission is to bring people together particularly during festivals like this.

“We also organise programmes which bring community togetherness and people are able to reach out and strengthen relationships,” he said, adding that a similar carnival would be held in Ipoh, Klang and Johor Baru.

In his speech, MICCI Penang branch president N. Vasantharajan urged the state government to disallow the continuation of the Penang Global Indian Festival (GIF) shopping carnival.

“We hope that this year’s carnival will be the last.

“The carnival has caused Little India’s traders much losses and we hope to have good business next year,” he said.

On July 5, some 120 traders in Penang’s Little India enclave threatened to close shop for a day in protest against the Penang GIF which was co-organised by an events management company.

Some 120 shops in Little India were closed on July 16, turning the place into a ‘ghost town’ in protest against the carnival held on Aug 7 at the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (formerly known as PISA).

Vasantharajan was reported as claiming that the annual Indian shopping carnival had caused traders in Little India to lose up to RM10mil in revenue last year.

The Maxis Hotlink Deepavali Carnival 2013 was launched by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on Sunday.

Lim, together with state executive councillors and Penang deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk A. Thaiveegan, earlier lit the kuthu villaku (oil lamp) to mark the Festival of Lights.

The event was also attended by children from the Ramakrishna Ashram as well as heads of temple and non-governmental organisations here.

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