Penang MIC has suggested that Penang Hindu Endownment Board (PHEB) should sponsor Hindu refreshment counters (Theneer Panthal) fees and reduce Kavadi charges by 50% during next year’s Thaipusam celebration in the state.
Its CWC member J.Dhinagaran via a press statement said people have come to know that PHEB is flushing with cash spent close RM 3.5million on their Golden chariot and repair the road works to bring the Golden chariot from the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple.
He highlighted that along the procession route there would be hundreds of refreshment centres and small businesses plying their trade.
Even they need to pay a very big amount of rental and deposits to PHEB for them to operate their business during the Thaipusam procession.
“PHEB shall take the lead to waive or bear the cost for all refreshment counters (Theneer Panthal) desposits and businesses fees.
“This will show that PHEB is committed in helping the Hindu community and not only clever of giving empty promises to the Hindu community.
“In fact, PHEB should also provide clean water, electricity and cleaning service to these refreshment counters (Theneer Panthal).” he said.
This refreshment counters will be distributing free food for breakfast, lunch and dinner to public during Thaipusam day.
As far as i know, for only three days, each business must pay more than RM 1,000 to PHEB and this force the business to sell food and drinks at a higher price to devotees, pointed out Dhinagaran.
“It is important for PHEB to remember that these business stalls are mostly part-timers and they open their business during Thaipusam.
“Therefore, PHEB shall assist them and demonstrate that they are serious to help the community.
“PHEB shall also reduce Kavadi fees by 50% as the fees imposed by them is too high and putting a strain on devotees.
“Thaipusam is supposed to be a religious celebrations and not an opportunity for PHEB to make money from devotees commitment to the religion.” added Dhinagaran.
Since PHEB declares as the champion of the Hindu community in Penang, its proper if they walk the talk and consider sponsor all fees and non-refundable deposits for business and refreshment counters during Thaipusam since they can spend a huge amount for the golden chariot, he added.
PHEB have been collecting donations from the public, so its time to give back to the community, Dhinagaran said.