PM wants to have meeting with Hindu temple committees, says Sivakumar

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wants to meet temple committee representatives in the country involved with the Thaipusam celebrations.

Anwar was unable to attend the celebrations at Batu Caves on Sunday (Feb 5) despite much anticipation that he would do so.

"I was informed that the Prime Minister was unable to come as he is feeling unwell and went to the hospital for a check-up," Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar told reporters when met after witnessing the celebrations at Batu Caves here on Sunday. (Feb 5).

He said Anwar had told him that he wanted to hold a meeting with temple committee representatives but did not state what the agenda would be.

"The meeting will be held within the next week or two," he said.

On Sunday (Feb 5) Anwar posted a message on Facebook wishing Hindus in Malaysia a Happy Thaipusam.

Anwar said the various celebrations and diverse culture in Malaysia are strong grounds for the Malaysian community to get to know each other and build an understanding of the country's plural society.

"Let us together strengthen unity and harmony for the sake of our beloved nation," he said.

Earlier, Sivakumar said this year's celebration was extra meaningful and had drawn a large crowd of devotees and tourists alike.

"Devotees from all over the country thronged Batu Caves this year, besides foreign tourists who came to witness the celebrations.

"Tis the first time the iconic celebration was held after two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

He noted that the celebration this year was not confined to Batu Caves but was also celebrated by Hindus all over the country such as Penang, Perak and Johor.

When Sivakumar was asked about wish for the nation, he said it would be for Malaysia to weather the uncertainties in the global economy.

"I wish that the nation continues to move forward and the government is doing all it can to ensure this despite economic constraints," he added.

Over 1.5 million devotees and tourists thronged Batu Caves to celebrate Thaipusam over the past four days to mark the celebration after a two-year hiatus due the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thaipusam is an important festival for Hindus. It is celebrated in the month of Thai, the tenth in the Tamil calendar to commemorate the event of Goddess Parvati giving her son Lord Murugan a sacred spear to eliminate the evil power, Soorapadman.

Hindu devotees from all over the country arrived here early Sunday (Feb 5) morning to perform rituals such as milk bearing paal kodam, carrying the kavadi and breaking coconuts to fulfil their vows.

Some 1,888 police personnel were deployed to ensure that the four-day celebration went on smoothly.

This included the temporary closure of several roads to facilitate the annual silver chariot procession of Lord Murugan and his two wives, the goddesses Valli and Devi Theivanai, from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Jalan Tun HS Lee to Batu Caves on Friday. (Feb 3)

Also present to witness the celebration at Batu Caves were MIC deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, US ambassador to Malaysia Brian David McFeeters, High Commissioner of Mauritius J. Goburdhun and Deputy High Commissioner of India Subhashini Narayanan.

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