Malaysian netizens have called for a Thaipusam chariot journey to be cancelled due to the current COVID-19 situation in the country, despite the National Security Council (MKN) allowing the said procession to be carried out.
The journey is slated to take place from Wednesday (27 January), with the return journey taking place on Friday (29 January).
It will begin from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and will end at the landmark Hindu shrine in Batu Caves without the usual procession, said Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa.
He said that this way of celebration is done as a sign of respect to the Hindus celebrating Thaipusam.
“The MKN has discussed in detail and agreed to allow the chariot to travel to Batu Caves at a stipulated time, which is either at midnight or early morning, with no procession and for the return journey to be carried out in a similar manner,” Annuar said.
A maximum of 10 temple personnel will be allowed to accompany the chariot. No music is to be played and the chariot must go on without making any stops, he added.
The journey must also abide by the conditions and standard operating procedures set by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Annuar stressed.
A number of netizens, however, commented saying there is no need for the journey to be carried out in the first place, saying that all devotees could pray and celebrate Thaipusam in their respective homes.
One commenter urged those involved in the upcoming journey to “stop everything” and “pls have mercy on frontliners” who have been working tirelessly to fight the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Some commenters also joked about how not having music would have any impact on the spread of COVID-19.
Thaipusam, celebrated by the Tamil Hindu community, is celebrated on the day when Pusam, a star, reaches its peak in Thai, which is the 10th month of the Tamil calendar.
This usually falls between mid-January to mid-February in the Gregorian calendar.
Thaipusam commemorates the day Lord Murugan, the Hindu god of war, receives the ‘Vel’ or divine spear from Parvati, the goddess of fertility, love and devotion.
Through the ‘Vel’, Lord Murugan defeats all of the daemonic forces to liberate all who are imprisoned by such forces.