Celebrating Deepavali: State govt looking at possibility of replacing public holidays

Abang Johari (second right) lights the lamp on the “kolam” altar synonymous with Deepavali festival. With him are Dr Sim (first left), Fatimah (third left), Lucy (first right) and others.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Oct 27: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says that the Sarawak government is looking at suitable public holiday dates in the state that can be replaced with Deepavali to enable celebrants in the state to synchronise festivities with the rest of the country.

“We have limited public holidays in Sarawak. The state government is looking at it seriously and is looking at the gazetted public holidays.”

The chief minister revealed this when he was met by reporters today at the Deepavali Open House of Indian community leader, Penghulu Lucy Lingam.

Abang Johari in his Deepavali message urged the Indian community here to look forward to contributing towards to the development of the state.

“We are very fortunate that the Indian community here has been the “brain” of Sarawak and we have such a thing and atmosphere in Sarawak,” he enthused.

“We hope this year Deepavali will bring prosperity for all of us and unity for the whole country, and in particular for Sarawak,” he said.

Deepavali or the Hindu festival of lights is a joyous annual occasion celebrated by the Indian community in Malaysia today.

It is a public holiday in the peninsula, but not in Sarawak.

The Indian community is about 10,000-strong across Sarawak.

Minister of Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah, Minister of Local Government and Housing, Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion were also present. — DayakDaily