KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — MIC deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan has described the claim by some parties that the Deepavali celebration on Oct 24, ahead of the 15th General Election (GE15), as ‘political drama’ by the opposition.

He said the allegation was intended to play on the sentiments of the Indian community while there would be sufficient time to celebrate the festival since the Election Commission (EC) meeting on managing the election would only be held on Oct 20.

“If the EC meets on Oct 20, we will most likely have two weeks or a week for the nominations. After that, there will be another two weeks for the election. 

“Perhaps GE15 will be held one to three weeks after Deepavali, so there is no need to raise this issue. At least we will have two to three weeks of buffer period,” he said at a press conference, here, today.

 Last week, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook reportedly said that the dissolution of Parliament in October to make way for GE15 was an act that disrespected the Indian community celebrating Deepavali.

Saravanan said he had requested Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to consider giving replacement leave to teachers from the Indian community in Tamil schools for the Deepavali celebration.

“I have appealed to the prime minister to take into account the appeal from teachers of the Indian community who requested to be given either an occasional public holiday or additional replacement leave,” he said.

On the issue of foreign workers raised by the opposition, Saravanan who is also the Minister of Human Resources, said the issue had been resolved and there was no need to make it a political issue.

“Through various programmes, there are approximately 1.1 million foreign workers in our country now. In the three months since we signed the agreement with Bangladesh and Indonesia, 159,000 had entered the country between July and September,” he said.


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