PETALING JAYA: It is time for Deepavali to be given the same importance as other major festivals, when it comes to public holidays and days off for schools and universities, says Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Citing complaints from university students who have to be in class the day after Deepavali, he said it was time for the government to treat the Hindu festival like how it does Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Chinese New Year
There are two public holidays given for Aidilfitri and CNY, respectively, but only one day is set for Deepavali. Additionally, a one-week school holiday also coincides with the Aidilfitri and CNY celebrations.
This year the festival of lights falls on Oct 24, a Monday.
“Why is the Deepavali holiday only for a day? That’s the message I receive frequently, mostly from students.
“Monday is a holiday, and the next day (the students) must attend class again. I propose it be extended, to be just like Aidilfitri and CNY. Pity them,” the former youth and sports minister said on Twitter.
According to Syed Saddiq, he received over 500 messages on the plight of Hindu students this Deepavali.
He shared a screenshot of a message he received from a public university student, who said that most Indian students were disappointed with the holiday given for Deepavali this year.
“It is just for one day and we cannot even celebrate our festival as we have to attend class the very next day. Most of us cannot even go back home to visit and celebrate it with our family members,” the message read.
One netizen responded to the former Muar MP’s tweet by saying that an additional day off should be given when the festival falls on a Monday, to allow students to travel back to their universities.
“Can’t expect (them) to travel back on the day itself. If one needs to travel from Penang to Johor, that would be exhausting,” they said.
Another, named Eshaan Menon, thanked the Muda president for highlighting the issue, saying that he had often asked the same question when he was a student.