KUCHING, July 2 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said he has asked the state attorney general (AG) to look into making Deepavali a gazetted public holiday in Sarawak.
He added this had been raised many times in the past.
“Actually, we have asked the state AG to look into it because our gazetted public holidays have reached the maximum number and we want to find out where we can slot in Deepavali so that we can gazette the day as part of our public holidays,” he said at the groundbreaking ceremony for the extension building of the Sikh Temple at Jalan Masjid here.
“I don’t promise, but I will try my best.”
Abang Johari was responding to Sarawak Sikh Temple Association president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira who had mentioned it in his speech earlier.
Dr Kalwinder said he was making the request on behalf of the Indian community as Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia where Deepavali is a public holiday.
This year, Deepavali will be celebrated on October 24.
The premier also said he will talk to state Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah to set aside a section in the newly completed Borneo Cultures Museum for the Sikh and Indian communities to showcase their culture.
“It is fair that we must have one section to showcase what the Indian and Sikh communities have done for Sarawak.
“All cultures (of communities in Sarawak) must be there,” he said, adding that they have done a lot for the state over the years.
Abang Johari said the state government will continue to allocate funds to religious bodies and houses of worship for their needs.
“This is the way we work together,” he said.
“I have one principle: If we help people, God will help us to increase our revenue so we can share it with the people,” he said.