Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor today denied that the state’s decision not to observe a public holiday for Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 28, was in order to deny the rights of Hindus.
He said worshippers could still celebrate the festival by adhering to the SOPs to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“Everyone has been asked to stay at home following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).
“All this while, Thaipusam has not been a public holiday in Kedah except for the last two years, it has been made as ‘cuti peristiwa’ (special holiday).
“The decision has nothing to do with the intention to deny the rights of anyone in this state. Even before Thaipusam was made a cuti peristiwa, it was celebrated freely and merrily in Kedah,” he said in a statement today.
The decision not to observe a public holiday for Thaipusam this year triggered criticism from several political leaders including Human Resources Minister and MIC deputy president M Saravanan, who described it as biased.
Sanusi said the decision should not be politicised as the country was now facing a bigger issue, that is the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With the MCO and emergency ordinance currently in force, any festival can be celebrated on a moderate scale and by strictly complying with the SOPs. Do not politicise everything. This is a matter of safety and the lives of all Malaysians.
“If MIC wants Thaipusam to be observed as a public holiday, they can ask the federal government to announce it as a public holiday for the whole country. Kedah already has a decision on this matter,” he said.