Festive celebrations are traditionally marked as public holidays in the country, be it Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Hari Gawai, Deepavali or Christmas. These celebrations, and other important dates such as the official birthdays of His Royal Highnesses, is a commemorated day that falls on a particular calendar date.
It bears no relation with the outbreak of pandemic or any other unforeseen event.
Even if it is not a public holiday, it will still be celebrated, albeit with strict compliance to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as stipulated by the Movement Control Order (MCO) without any form of public or extended family gatherings.
We are a multi-ethnic nation that cherishes cultural pluralism. Moderation is an integral part of our way of life.
The sudden announcement of cancellation of Thaipusam as a public holiday is an affront to multiculturalism that we celebrate and a sign of intolerance.
The Kedah State Government must reconsider such a decision as it is both irrational and wholly disproportionate in the circumstances.
By Gan Ping Sieu, CENBET co-president