Political party wants Deepavali declared as 2-day holiday in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - MIC is urging the Government to declare an additional public holiday for Deepavali so that the community can enjoy a two-day public holiday.

Malaysia currently observes a one-day public holiday for the festival, which is predominantly celebrated by the Indian community.

"Deepavali is an important festival that is celebrated by Hindus, Indians (and) Sikhs throughout the world. It used to be a one-day festival, but now it has become a 30-day festival.

"I will speak to the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) on the proposal in a few days' time. The other ethnic groups get a two-day public holiday," MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said.

In Deepavali-related price check operations, Domestic Trade, Coo­peratives and Consumerism Mini­s­­ter Datuk Hasan Malek said 3,059 traders had been caught flouting the price control scheme since July.

Most of them had failed to display pink price tags for price-controlled items, he said.

He said nine others were found to have sold such items above the ceiling price.

The ministry also seized over RM921,000 (S$362,000) worth of products from the traders, who were fined a total of RM265,280, he added.

"This shows that the Government is serious about protecting consumers. We will not hesitate to take stern action against those who think only about profits," said Hasan after his price check rounds at the Sentul market here yesterday.

A total of 14 food items, including chicken, mutton, egg, tomato and onion, have been placed under the price control scheme for 10 days in conjunction with the Deepavali celebrations.

Over 2,900 officers from the ministry are making their rounds to monitor prices of controlled items.

Up to yesterday, three sundry shops in Negri Sembilan and Pahang were found to have failed to display the pink price tags or sold products without any price tags.

Hasan urged the people to be the ministry's "eyes and ears" in weeding out non-compliant traders and report to its hotline at 1-800-88-6800.

In Kuala Terengganu, enforcement officers will be monitoring the iconic Pasar Payang market to ensure traders adhere to the prices of controlled items throughout the Deepavali season.

Pasar Payang, the most popular market in Terengganu, is expected to receive extra visitors during the Deepavali holiday season, which coincides with Awal Muharram.

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