More calls to make Deepavali public holiday

MIRI: The Indian community in Sarawak have again called on the government to declare Deepavali a public holiday nationwide by next year.

Miri Indian Association president Karambir Singh said in the spirit of 1Malaysia, it is high time such an important festival be celebrated with a public holiday in every state.

“We hope that our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak are compassionate towards not only the Indians in Sarawak but also the other races who celebrate Deepavali with us.

“Currently with Deepavali not a public holiday in Sarawak, we, the Indians here including my family, have to hold open houses during two lunch hours for our friends and well-wishers who are working,” he said during his open house on Thursday.

Karambir, who is SUPP Piasau secretary, said during a courtesy call from the Indian community in Sarawak last year, Adenan had promised to look into declaring Deepavali a public holiday in the state.

Meanwhile, Sarawak United People’s Party secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting supported the request for Deepavali to be a public holiday in the state. He added that Gawai Dayak should also be made a public holiday nationally.

“We in Sarawak not only tolerate each other but also accept each other and this is the major factor that has enabled us to live harmoniously in Sarawak since time immemorial despite having diverse backgrounds.

“Tolerance has its limitations but when we accept one another, we respect and love them for who they are. Thus we hope that the government accept and recognise the respective requests of the Indians and Dayaks for public holidays for Deepavali in Sarawak and Gawai Dayak in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah,” he said.