Malaysian police: No reason for devotees to stay away from Batu Caves during Thaipusam

GOMBAK: The recent spate of terror threats should not be a cause for devotees and visitors to stay away from Batu Caves for this year's Thaipusam celebrations.

To allay concerns of terror attacks, the police and Armed Forces have already increased security at Batu Caves since yesterday.

Gombak OCPD Asst Comm Ali Ahmad said an "adequate" number of police officers and personnel had been deployed to patrol five zones around Batu Caves for 10 days.

He said security at this year's celebrations had been heightened in the wake of terrorist threats and terror attacks around the world.

"Even though the attacks happened outside of this country, we will be enforcing the highest level of security at Batu Caves.

"It's not just Batu Caves. Security has been heightened across the country.

"We have adequate manpower, whether it be uniformed or plain-clothes officers, to carry out duties at this year's celebrations at Batu Caves," he said.

He said 10 Armed Forces personnel would also be working in shifts to patrol the five zones.

"I am not saying that terror-linked activities will happen in Batu Caves. These activities can happen anywhere.

"We can't predict these things but we must be prepared for all eventualities - and we are prepared," he said.

ACP Ali said a technical headquarters would be set up at Batu Caves during the celebrations for devotees and visitors to lodge police reports.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple chairman Tan Sri R. Nadarajah also added that those attending the celebrations had no cause for worry.

"Don't listen to rumours circulated on social media," he said.

He said the organising committee had been liaising with the police to ensure safety during the celebrations.

"Our own personnel are also engaged (in ensuring safety)," he said.

About one million people are expected to attend the festival at Batu Caves this year.