KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22 — The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) is piling the pressure on Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor over his decision to cancel the Thaipusam public holiday in the state.
MCA spokesperson Mike Chong Yew Chuan said that the decision by Sanusi is illogical, unacceptable and infringes on the rights of minorities — and that his argument Thaipusam is a cuti peristiwa (event holiday) was invalid as previous Kedah state governments had no such issue with it.
“The Kedah MB might have further argued that Thaipusam is a cuti peristiwa, not a cuti umum (gazetted holiday), the fact remains that past Kedah state governments were all able to relate with the people and observe this holiday.
“Why would Muhammad Sanusi suddenly decide otherwise now? His second attempt at reasoning is as unconvincing as his first,” he said.
He then questioned Sanusi’s line of reasoning, asking whether future holidays would also be cancelled should they be affected by the movement control order (MCO).
“If Muhammad Sanusi is allowed to cancel an Indian holiday on such untenable grounds, what is stopping him from cancelling traditional holidays of other races and religions in the future?” Chong added.
He said that both the decision and follow-up remark by Sanusi had not only hurt the feelings of Malaysian Indians, but also come across as disrespectful to other traditions and cultures.
He added that the MCA will not stand idle against such blatant disrespect for the Indian community and that the party would not remain passive against the ruling — as it concerns the rights and status of minority groups in Malaysia.
“Neither MCA nor MIC are looking to politicise this matter over nothing. We want to let Muhammad Sanusi know the logic here is fairly universal and straightforward; banning celebration activities and outright cancelling the holiday are simply not the same. It’s apples and oranges,” he said.
On January 20, Sanusi announced that there will be no public holiday for Thaipusam in Kedah, due to the MCO.
He has drawn flak for his decision to not observe the holiday, with MIC deputy president M. Saravanan calling him biased against Hindus.
Later, Sanusi said that Kedah’s decision not to observe Thaipusam is not meant to deny the rights of Hindus in the state — and that worshippers could still celebrate the festival by adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of Covid-19.
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