A FEW days ago, the Mentri Besar of Kedah, Datuk Mohd Sanusi Md Noor, announced that the holiday that Kedahans have enjoyed for Thaipusam in the last six years has been withdrawn. This naturally earned the wrath of Indians in Kedah.
Indian-based political parties as well as Indian/Hindu organisations throughout the country have voiced their displeasure and protest against the MB’s decision.
The holiday is not going to affect the movement control order, and Hindus do not necessarily need leave to observe this most important religious practice. The holiday is about recognition and respect due to Indians in this country, 80% of whom are Hindus.
Malaysia is our motherland, too. And we evince our highest respect and loyalty to Malaysia and our Malay Rulers at all times. If need be, we will lay down our lives to uphold the sovereignty of this great nation and our beloved Malay Rulers.
History can show how Indians sacrificed their lives in developing this land. Our former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had mentioned this at many public rallies.
Indians died in scores developing the rubber plantations. We laid the most beautiful Macadamised roads throughout Malaysia. We slogged in the construction of railways. Telekom Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (formerly known as Lembaga Letrik Negara) and many more utility-cum-service sectors had substantial contribution from the Indian labour force.
Yes, most of us came here as poor indentured labourers, but we had many other positive attributes. We were hard-working, loyal and truthful. And nobody can deny our contributions to Malaysia’s development.
However, every time there is an issue related to Indians, we feel bullied and cheated especially by those who wield power. The cancellation of Thaipusam as a holiday in Kedah is a solid example of this.
In this case, there have been protests and condemnation against the MB’s decision from all races. The secretary-general of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress has urged the MB to allow the holiday. Non-Indian political leaders from Umno, MCA and other major parties have also expressed their concern. Academics and social activists have argued that granting a holiday for Thaipusam is an act of goodwill and certainly will help strengthen unity among our multiracial and multi-religious populace.
As such, I appeal to our MB to retract his earlier announcement to disallow the holiday.
SACHITHANANTHAM TACHINA MOORTHI
Sg Petani, Kedah
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