RELIGIOUS OBLIGATION: It's for Sikh civil servants to celebrate Vaisakhi from next year
KUALA LUMPUR: SIKH civil servants will be given one-day unrecorded leave to celebrate Vaisakhi from next year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said this was to allow them to fulfil their religious obligation.
"From next year, all Sikh government servants will be given a one-day unrecorded leave for this important spiritual event," he announced at the 1Malaysia Vaisakhi open house at Dataran Merdeka yesterday in conjunction with the April 14 Vaisakhi celebrations.
Najib's announcement were greeted with cheers from the 10,000 crowd.
Vaisakhi is an important celebration for Sikhs.
The festival commemorates the founding of the Sikh community.
Najib also announced a RM4 million allocation for the community, including RM1.5 million to the Malaysia Gurdwara Council to help Sikhs and to upgrade the crematorium in Jalan Loke Yew.
The allocation will also go to 18 gurdwara nationwide that need financial aid, to build three gurdwara in Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and George Town, and a national Sikh resource centre at the Gurdwara police training centre here.
For youth, Najib said RM800,000 would be channelled to the Malaysia Sikh Naujawan Sabha association for its activities, and an additional RM500,000 annual allocation for free text books.
He said his announcement was a reflection of the government's sincerity and commitment to every Malaysian.
"What I have announced is a clear manifestation of the government's sincerity to reach out to various communities, inclu-ding Sikhs."
He said the "vishwaz" principles, which mean confidence, should be inculcated in all.
"If we can inculcate this in people, I believe we can do more to develop Sikhs."
He said the 1Malaysia concept was based on fairness, inclusiveness and being sustainable.
"Inclusive means understanding the needs of every community and, at the same time, realise their needs so that the government can contribute to what's required and needed by communities."
He paid tribute to more than 3,000 Sikhs who died while defending the country during World War 2, describing them as "gallant heroes".
Present were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad and Malaysian Gurdwara Council president Jagir Singh.