One Diwali, two Malaysian Indian political organisers


Ipoh (Malaysia) : Two Malaysian Indian politicians here are vying to host the Diwali festival, which is the biggest celebration of the year for the Indian community.

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Ipoh’s Little India is emerging as a battleground for Perak state’s executive councillor A. Sivanesan, who is from the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, and an equally determined Perak chief of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) G. Rajoo.

Sivanesan said the state government rejected Rajoo’s application Monday to hold the celebration in Little India as the Ipoh Barat MIC had been organising the event over many years “to make profits”. Rajoo is the chairman of the Ipoh Barat.

Sivanesan added that Pakatan planned to organise the annual event this time with the backing and participation of local hawkers, businessmen and organisations.

“We have received complaints from traders that, in the past, Ipoh Barat MIC never involved the public when organising the celebration. This time the community will decide with Pakatan on how the festival should be celebrated,” he told media.

Sivanesan, who is also state Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman, accused the MIC of making profit from the festival through sales of trading lots.

“But we (Pakatan) are not doing it to make money. As a veteran politician, Rajoo should understand that the final decision is in the hands of the state executive council,” he said.

A defiant Rajoo, however, said Ipoh Barat MIC would carry on with its preparations for the Diwali celebration, which they had been organising for the past 16 years, as they were doing it legally.

Rajoo denied that the MIC made a profit from the event, adding that the party had even subsidised the traders.