No Thaipusam so no holiday in Kedah

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ALOR SETAR: There will be no public holiday for Thaipusam in Kedah this year, Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor announced, with all activities in the annual festival having been cancelled because of the movement control order (MCO).

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“There is no cuti peristiwa. Since there is no celebration this year, there will be no public holiday,” he told reporters at Wisma Darul Aman here today.

He said for those who are planning to pray at temples, strict crowd control measures are to be taken, with the standard operating procedure (SOP) stipulating that only a one-third capacity is allowed in houses of worship.

Sanusi said that for instance, if the temple could take 100 people, only 33 would be allowed. No kavadi carrying or other festivities will be allowed as well, as per the SOP.

He said the same applies for the Chinese New Year festivities next month.

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“Any assemblyman who wants to hand out Mandarin oranges can only do so with a drive-through,” Sanusi added.

Penang, which usually holds Thaipusam celebrations on a grand scale, had also cancelled its chariot processions, which usually draw three million people to the streets of George Town.

There will also be no Thaipusam celebration in Batu Caves, Selangor, where the country’s largest Thaipusam gathering takes place every year.

However, unlike Kedah, the other states have not cancelled the Thaipusam public holiday.

Separately, Sanusi said the state had approved a monthly payment of RM8,000 to all assemblymen from the Perikatan Nasional state government as a management allowance for their respective service centres and RM2,000 for those from opposition parties.- FMT

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