The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar joined the Indian community for a lunch ceremony held in conjunction with Thaipusam at the Hindu Samajam Sri Murugan Temple in Rengam. Pix by MOHD AZREN JAMALUDIN

KLUANG: The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar joined the Indian community for a lunch ceremony held in conjunction with Thaipusam at the Hindu Samajam Sri Murugan Temple in Rengam, near here today.

The ruler arrived at the venue, located at a hall beside the temple, at about 12.15pm.

He was greeted by a crowd of about 15,000 people who had lined the streets of the small town here to welcome him.

The ruler spent more than an hour meeting with his subjects.

Also present were Johor Unity and Human Resources Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan, Kluang District Officer Muhamad Fuad Radzuan, Gambir assemblyman Datuk M. Asojan and many others.

Hindu Samajam Sri Murugan Temple secretary Ganesh Govindasamy said there would be 15,000 Hindu devotees thronging the temple during Thaipusam every year, but this year's celebration was special as Sultan Ibrahim decided to join the devotees and Rengam folk for lunch.

"I feel very lucky to be subject to a ruler who cares for the people's wellbeing, and one who has always upholds the spirit of muafakat (cooperation) that is practiced in the state," said Ganesh.

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