No parliament sitting on Deepavali eve
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has requested for parliament to break on Oct 25.
The decision, which was announced by Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia in parliament this morning was in deferences to a request from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Pandikar said that he had received a request from Najib for parliament not sit next Tuesday, the day before Deepavali.
Parliament will however reconvene on Thurday, Oct 27. Deepavali is on Oct 26.
Last week, Pakatan leaders cried foul over the fact that Parliament was scheduled to sit on Deepavali eve.
At the press conference, Ipoh Barat MP, M Kulasegaran said the eve of Deepavali was when Hindus, in a time-honoured tradition, gather for family reunions and offer prayers to their ancestors.
He said that by scheduling the sitting on a day before Deepavali, “the government had reneged on its word and deliberately failed in its pledge to look after the sensitivities of the Indian community.”
This parliament session which began on Oct 3 is schedule to end in December.
To his credit Naib has already directed programmes surrounding the Deepavali festivities to be rescheduled.
Deepavali is a gazetted public holiday in Malaysia.
Earlier in July, during the launch of the 1Malaysia Indian Students Movement at Universiti Malaya, Najib announced that the curriculum and exam schedules in Malaysia would be revamped to ensure that it did not clash with Deepavali.
For the past 20-years Indians were stuck with the problem of examinations which invariably always fell either a day before or on the day of the festival.
Many, as such rarely returned home and missed out on the celebrations.
Since Najib’s announcement, an official circular from the Education Ministry asking universities to reschedule exams and classes in order to provide a longer break for Deepavali has already been implemented in public universities.
Ignoring Deepavali, is not a new issue in Malaysia. Kulasegaran flagged the same issue in 2007.
In 2007, Umno, much to the shock and chagrin of Malaysian, both Hindus and non-Hindus, had held its Annual General Assembly on Nov 8, which was Deepavali day.
The brazen and “growing pattern of insensitivity by the powers-that-be” further stoked public discontent.The seering discontent among the Indians, Chinese and Malays eventually led to Barisan Nasional losing its hold on five states and Umno suffering a most humiliating defeat in the 12th general election in 2008