MELAKA: The spirit of Deepavali will still be felt by 15 children from hardcore poor families despite the ongoing conditional movement control order (MCO) in Melaka.
They were supposed to have received Deepavali gifts and cash from Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali during an event scheduled to be held at Bukit Katil here on Thursday (Nov 12).
However, the conditional MCO has forced the event to be cancelled at the eleventh hour.
Sulaiman was earlier supposed to attend the event that was organised jointly with Melaka Tourism Business Club (MTBC) president Datuk Chew Chert Fong before the decision was made to shelve it.
Sulaiman said he will make sure the gifts are delivered "house-to-house" by volunteers from MTBC.
"I was told the children were excited to attend the event and I will not disappoint them," he said Wednesday (Nov 11).
Sulaiman said he had his last Deepavali giveaway just before the conditional MCO was implemented in the state on Monday (Nov 9).
"The state was supposed to hold more events to reach out to those who needed help but now has been hampered by the conditional MCO," he said.
Sulaiman said the Festival of Lights is an important celebration for Melaka.
"When I was young, we use to celebrate all festivals, including Deepavali in a harmonious spirit," he said.
Sulaiman said his administration will never sideline any communities from getting assistance through welfare, education, health and employment opportunities.
"We will include the interests all communities in our planning and policies," he said.
The Chief Minister will also debut his Deepavali greeting video on Friday (Dec 13).
Meanwhile, Chew said the gifts and financial aid will be distributed to the children between today (Nov 11) and Thursday (Nov 12).
"Volunteers must abide strictly to the standard operating procedures when making house visits," he said.
The Chief Minister's initiative to make Deepavali celebrations merrier for the children also got the support of an Opposition lawmaker in the state.
Kota Laksamana assemblyman Low Chee Leong said he has prepared goody bags to be distributed to the children.
"Let us keep political differences aside and celebrate the Festival of Lights in true Malaysian spirit," he said.
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