Hindu group appeals to Kedah sultan to enforce royal declaration of Thaipusam holiday

Ravin Palanisamy

The Kedah ruler has been asked to intervene in the menteri besar’s decision to scrap the Thaipusam holiday in the state, which is home to about 300,000 Hindu Indians. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 25, 2021.

A HINDU group today sent a memorandum to the Kedah ruler Sultan Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah over Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s cancellation of this year’s Thaipusam holiday in the state.

Agamam Ani Malaysia accused Sanusi of oppressing the rights of the Hindus with his bullying attitude and citing the Covid-19 epidemic to justify his decision to cancel the special holiday.

The group said the menteri besar’s decision was disrespectful of the ruler’s father, the late sultan of Kedah Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, who had consented to make the celebration a special holiday in the state, which is home to about 300,000 Hindus

“In 2014, the special Thaipusam holiday was consented by Tuanku Al-Sultan Al-Mu’tassimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah after it was proposed by former menteri besar Mukriz Mahathir.

“The cancellation of this year’s holiday for unreasonable reasons is an insult to Tuanku and the Hindus in Kedah, and all the people of Kedah in general,” Agaman Ani adviser Arun Dorasamy said.

The state government has come under severe criticism for scrapping the Thaipusam public holiday, which falls on January 28, because of the Covid-19 crisis.

Sanusi said the move was not meant to deny the rights of Hindus, who could still celebrate the festival at home or within the confines of health and safety guidelines that are in effect.

He urged all parties not to “politicise” the matter.

Arun said Sanusi was insensitive in his handling of matters pertaining to race and religion, especially those linked to the Hindus.

He said Sanusi’s attitude has caused anger, anxiety and worry among the Hindus in Kedah in several issues, including the demolition of two temples, defamation of the temple institution and now, his refusal to recognise the Thaipusam holiday.

In the memorandum sighted by The Malaysian Insight, Arun appealed to the sultan to advise Sanusi to retract his decision.

“Tuanku, we request your Majesty, to advise the Menteri Besar to be more caring, polite, fair and impartial in handling the administration of Kedah state and to return Thaipusam holiday as a sign of respect and justice,” he said.

Arun had earlier asked the state exco to review the decision and reinstate the Thaipusam holiday.

He said Hindus could still celebrate Thaipusam under the new norms at home and in the temples that did not involve gatherings of people.

Arun said it was important for the state to declare the festival a holiday to enable Hindus to fulfil their religious vows and perform prayers.

Several political leaders on both sides have criticised Sanusi for his actions.

Sanusi, however, told his critics to persuade the federal government to declare Thaipusam a national holiday if they wished to reverse his decision. – January 25, 2021.

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