THE Penang government is committed to ensuring that the welfare of its people is protected.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the welfare of the Indian community in Penang was seriously looked into over the years.
“The state had increased the annual allocation for Tamil vernacular schools beginning last year, from RM1.75 million to RM2 million.
“The allocation benefited 28 Tamil vernacular schools in the state.
“In addition to that, the allocation for Tamil kindergartens had also been increased from RM100,000 to RM150,000. The amount was shared among 20 kindergartens.
“Meanwhile, the allocation for the Tamil Education Special Fund has been increased from RM100,000 to RM150,000.
“We have also increased the total allocation for three Punjabi schools – from RM60,000 to RM90,000.
“This is our commitment to assist the Indian community in the state,” Chow said in his speech during the Thaipusam celebration at the Waterfall Hilltop Temple in George Town today.
Also present were United States Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir, Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy, Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng Soon Siang, Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy, Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong Khan Lee, Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai and Waterfall Hilltop Temple chairman Datuk R. Subramaniam.
Chow called for unity and mutual respect in his speech.
He praised the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB), under the leadership of Dr Ramasamy, for its efforts in empowering the Indian community in many aspects such as education, health, religion, and development.
Before ending his speech, he announced a RM200,000 allocation for the Waterfall Hilltop Temple.
Chow and his entourage also visited the Sri Meenakshi Hindu Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, where he launched the temple’s first mobile app.
The app, known as the ‘Meenakshi Sundreswarar’, was designed to manage the temple’s operations and online services better.
It was developed by a company from India known as Canny Digital Solutions and another company from Malaysia known as VeecoTech Web & E-Commerce Sdn Bhd.
The app is aimed at increasing awareness about the temple, updating visitors of the temple’s activities, increasing the number of visitors and more.
‘Meenakshi Sundreswarar’ can be downloaded using the Google Play or the App Store.
Over at the Nattukkottai Chettiar Temple, Chow handed out RM5,000 mock cheque each to three Tamil schools and two welfare associations.
The three schools were SJKT Bayan Lepas, SJKT Jalan Sungai and SJKT Azad; while the two welfare associations were Shan Children’s Home and Seri Cahaya Welfare Home.
The allocations were from the Nattukkottai Chettiar Temple.
Thousands of devotees thronged the Waterfall Hilltop Temple, Sri Meenakshi Hindu Temple and Nattukkottai Chettiar Temple during the Thaipusam celebration today.
Some of them were spotted carrying the ‘paal kudam’ (milk pot) while some carried the ‘kavadi’ during the celebration.
Devotees were also heard chanting ‘vel vel’ most of the time.
Thaipusam marks the occasion when Goddess Parvati gave Lord Murugan a vel (spear), so he could vanquish the evil Soorapadman.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Alissala Thian
Video by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi