"There is no cuti peristiwa. Since there is no celebration this year, there will be no public holiday," the PAS lawmaker reportedly told the press yesterday, in reference to the cancellation of Thaipusam celebrations nationwide, due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain the spread of COVID-19.
In response, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy questioned whether Sanusi's move was tantamount to extremism and racism.
"If Kedah MB is not an extremist, then what is he? The cancellation of events associated with Thaipusam was not meant to deny the holiday meant for it."
The fact that the events related to the Thaipusam has been cancelled will not negate the significance of the festival itself, as Hindus will still mark the event by praying at home, the DAP lawmaker said in a press statement posted on his official Facebook page last night.
Although Penang was the first state to cancel Thaipusam-related events, the state did not cancel the holidays for the festival, Ramasamy noted.
"Yes, the devotees might not have the luxury of enjoying the events and mass prayers in temples, but January 28, 2021, is nonetheless Thaipusam.
"Unfortunately, Sanusi seems not to understand the simple logic."
Human Resources Minister M Saravanan echoed Saravanan's remarks, calling Sanusi's move "arrogant and ignorant".
If Kedah MB is not an extremist, then what is he? The Kedah MB Mohammed Sanusi Md Nor has gone crazy on the Hindu...Posted by Prof. Dr.Ramasamy on Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Calling the move unacceptable, the MIC deputy president said: "Just because we cannot go to the temple does not mean we cannot celebrate it at home.
"Malaysian Hindus are clearly upset and disturbed with the announcement by the menteri besar as it is a festival celebrated by Hindus," he reportedly said in a statement.
According to him, such move would hurt the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition, of which PAS is a part of, in the next general election.
Saravanan added that MIC was never consulted prior to the move.
He further noted that the move could backfire on PAS in the next election in constituencies which have a sizeable Indian and Hindu electorate in Kedah.
Sanusi is no stranger to controversy in regards to the Indian community. He has previously been embroiled in a war of words with both MIC and DAP regarding his justification of temple demolitions in his state, as well as his later remark that representatives who criticised him over the issue were "drunk on toddy".
Source: Free Malaysia Today, P Ramasamy Facebook
Photo source: Astro Awani, The Star