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Monday, January 30, 2012

Join in the Thaipusam festivities too, Perkasa told


Spread your 'kindness' to the Indian community and set up free drink stalls for devotees, NGO challenges Malay rights group.
PETALING JAYA: An Indian NGO has asked Perkasa to spread its ‘kindness’ to the Indian community by setting up free drink stalls (Thannir Pannthal) during the Thaipusam celebrations.
WargaAMAN, a coalition of 20 Indian NGOs, said that it was shocked that Perkasa organised a Chinese New Year open house in Kampung Baru over the weekend.
“We want to know, if Perkasa was really sincere and not a racist organisation as it claims, why didn’t they organise an open house during Deepavali or Christmas,
“We challenge Perkasa, if they are truly not racist, what is wrong if they organise free drink stalls for Hindus who will celebrate Thaipusam next week,” said its secretary, S Barathidasan.
It is a traditional custom that during Thaipusam, many organisations set-up these free drink stalls for the thousands of devotees will throng the temple. It is seen as a sign of charity.
Perkasa, the Malay rights pressure group headed by Ibrahim Ali, has drawn much criticism for its ultra Malay rhetoric which many have deemed racist.
WargaAman said that it believed that the Chinese New Year open house was merely a political ploy to woo voters as election approaches.
About 300 senior citizens attended the event where RM10,000 in ‘ang-pow” were handed out in white white envelopes, a colour associated with funerals.
Perkasa, however, subsequently clarified that it meant no malice in giving out white ang pow packets and did not mean to offend the community by its gesture.
Perkasa’s secretary-general, Syed Hassan Syed Ali was reported to have said that if they had known white was taboo during celebrations, they would not have used the colour.
WargaAman urged Perkasa to understand the norms and customs of other cultures in Malaysia.
“We hope that Perkasa will be more careful so as to not offend the feelings of other races”.

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