GOMBAK: Deepavali has been declared a public holiday in Labuan, as a symbolic gesture to all Malaysians leaving in the federal territory.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the gov ernment had decided to extend the public holiday as a measure of respect, even though there were relatively few Hindus living in Labuan.
"We feel that, as part of the Federal Territories, Malaysians there deserve to enjoy Deepavali along with the rest of the country," he said at the MIC Deepavali open house at Batu Caves yesterday.
Najib also pledged to stop the controversial 29-storey condominium project near Batu Caves if Barisan Nasional managed to reclaim the Selangor government in the next general election.
"The Batu Caves complex should be protected and de fended from anything which might threaten its position as one of the country's most sacred sites for Hindus," he said, adding that the BN government always fulfilled its promis es.
The Batu Caves complex, Najib said, would also be con sidered as a Unesco World Heritage site.
However, he said, an official submission to list the site will only be made in 2015, when Malaysia's membership in the UN World Heritage Commission expires, in order to avoid a conflict of interest.