Diwali celebrations bring Malaysians together


Kuala Lumpur : A huge cake, murukku and mutton curry were among the delicacies spread out at the Open House hosted by the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) to celebrate Diwali here. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and many ministers were among the 2,000 guests present.

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The New Straits Times website carried a photograph of the VVIP guests standing with folded hands in front of a huge cake, surrounded by many members of the Malaysian Indian community.

The MIC leaders and their families, attired in their traditional best, attended the Diwali gala held at the World Trade Centre here Monday. MIC chief S. Samy Vellu said that seeing the different races at the meet was a source of pride for MIC.

He said this highlighted the fact that Diwali had become an occasion to unite the different races in the country.

He urged the Indian community to “stay united” as they have an integral part to play in achieving the government’s plan for unity and development of the country.

Ethnic Indians, the bulk of them Tamil Hindus, form roughly eight percent of Malaysia’s multi-cultural society. Malay Muslims form the majority, while Chinese comprise 33 percent.

Besides Badawi and Razak, several ministers, including International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Shafie Apdal and Federal Territories Minister Zulhasnan Rafique attended the Open House.

In Penang state, an Open House was hosted by lawyer and opposition lawmaker Karpal Singh, Deputy Chief Minister II Prof P. Ramasamy, legislator A. Tanasekharan, and state People’s Progressive Party (PPP) chief Loga Bala Mohan.

In Malacca, state MIC chairman R. Raghavan hosted an Open House at his residence where children from the Malacca Handicapped and Mentally Disabled Children Centre were also present.

Malacca Chief Minister Mohammed Ali Rustam and royal chief Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob also attended the event.