SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah government has declared Thaipusam a special holiday to allow some 300,000 Hindus to celebrate the festival.
Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, who is also the Sultan of Kedah, had consented that Thaipusam, which falls on Friday, be declared a special holiday.
“For the first time, Thaipusam will be a holiday. Although it is only a special holiday, we hope it will allow Hindus in the state to enjoy the celebration without the need to apply for leave.
“Since Thaipusam falls on a Friday, which is weekend for Kedah, there will be no replacement off day for government offices and schools,” he told newsmen after attending the 15th convocation for Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kuin) at its Kuala Ketil campus here yesterday.
Mukhriz said the special holiday would only be for this year, and the state government would again seek the Sultan’s consent for next year.
Kedah MIC chairman Datuk S. Ganesan said the announcement was an acknowledgment of the Indian community’s contributions to the state.
The state MIC would set up a thanneer panthal (drinks stall) for about 10,000 devotees in Sungai Petani during the festival, he said at a separate press conference at the Kuin campus.