Vigilantes by their very definition are illegal and will not be allowed to operate.
By P Ramasamy
Recently a Facebook group called “Thaipusam Spraying Group” warned that women who dress inappropriately during Thaipusam would be sprayed with aerosol paint.
The leader of this group “Henry Barnabas” (a fictitious name) warned women that those wearing sarees with designer blouses exposing their back would be dealt with.
Another Facebook group called “Karuthu Kannamaa” took issue with this group, saying this group had no right to do moral policing and that men who could not appreciate the role of women should not participate in Thaipusam.
The Thaipusam festival has been in the country for a very long period and this is the first time that this vigilante group has reared its ugly head.
In Penang, the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) organises Thaipusam yearly with the cooperation of government and private agencies. Enforcement action is left to the Penang Island City Council, the police, immigration and customs.
No other groups will be allowed to operate without the permission of the temple committee and the relevant government agencies.
There is no need for moral policing as Thaipusam is well managed by the PHEB in Penang. Moreover, vigilantes, by their very definition, are illegal and will not be allowed to operate.
The issue of this particular vigilante group warning women will be raised in the next Thaipusam joint meeting to be held in the next few days in Penang.
As chairman of the PHEB, I will make sure that we in Penang will not tolerate this kind of extremism whether it comes from this group or others.
P Ramasamy is Deputy Chief Minister II, Penang.
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