From defending the demolition of historic Hindu temples in Kedah, to implying Indians are alcoholics, and now cancelling Thaipusam as a state holiday, Kedah Chief Minister Muhammad Sanusi has proven consistent in offending the Indian community.
“There will be no ‘cuti peristiwa’ this year. Since there is no celebration, there is no need to have a public holiday,” he said on Jan 21.
Understandably, this illogical decision has courted much flak from parties all across the board – from MIC to Pakatan Harapan, and even disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke up.
However, politicians weren’t the only ones who lambasted his move.
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor said, “MTUC sees the cancellation of the Thaipusam holiday as a step back by the Kedah state government where workers are concerned.”
Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) co-president Gan Ping Sieu urged the state government to reinstate Thaipusam as a public holiday.
“The sudden announcement of the cancellation of Thaipusam as a public holiday is an affront to multiculturalism that we celebrate and a sign of intolerance. The Kedah government must reconsider such a decision as it is both irrational and wholly disproportionate in the circumstances,” Gan said.
Needless to say, Sanusi’s preposterous decision sparked the most outrage within the Indian community itself.
Malaysian Hindu Sangam President Datuk RS Mogan Shan said, “He thinks Thaipusam is all about carrying kavadi (mini procession) and pal kudam (milk offering). It’s more than that. It’s a day where Hindus celebrate it by having prayer sessions at home.”
Of course, netizens did not hold back either. One said, “The menteri besar’s actions…. is sheer nastiness from the conviction that power not only permits but demands abuse upon your neighbour.
What does it matter how a Hindu or anyone chooses to have his communion with his God? He could visit a place of worship, pray quietly at home, or sit under a durian tree contemplating the hereafter. It is certainly not left to PAS to decide for him.”
Yet another said, “PAS is still a party for the dark ages. They will bring about zero development in any sector.”
This was followed by another comment, “If the late Sultan Abdul Halim had consented to the holiday in 2014, who is this PAS MB to cancel the holiday for 2021? Was HRH’s consent obtained for the cancellation this year? If not, this PAS MB is a traitor to the royal institution.”
“Indians may be a minority in Kedah, but they have a legitimate expectation that their important religious holiday for Thaipusam would be maintained in 2021 because it has been a holiday since 2014 with the consent of the late Sultan.”
Meanwhile, Tanjong Malim resident M Mythreyar lodged a police report against Sanusi’s decision. “Sanusi intends to belittle Thaipusam and wants to seize the rights of Malaysian Hindus. Sanusi has also insulted the contributions and sacrifices of Hindu Indian leaders for the betterment of Malaysians.
“I hope the authorities will take action to prevent Hindu Malaysians from being dissatisfied with the Kedah government. My report is to stop Sanusi from cancelling religious celebrations of other religions arbitrarily because I think he does not think about racial harmony in Malaysian society,” his report read.
Evidently, ordinary people or politicians alike do not support Sanusi’s decision nor his rationale behind it. Malaysia is a multicultural country we all call home, so let us just respect each other.