PETALING JAYA: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy lashed out at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for wanting to hold its convocation on the eve of Deepavali, labelling it “an utter disgrace”.
“It shows they do not care about Hindu students or a major Hindu festival,” he said in a statement.
The DAP deputy chairman wondered if the scheduling of the convocation was an oversight on USM’s part or if the institution deliberately dismissed the importance of Deepavali for Hindus.
He, however, argued that claiming ignorance or stating it was an oversight could not be accepted because USM should have been fully aware of the date of Deepavali considering that it was planning an important event.
“If the USM authorities think that no special allowance should be made to Hindu students than they should say it outright.”
Ramasamy went on to claim that the “insensitiveness of the majoritarian community to numerically smaller communities is on the rise”.
Priority given to promote the majoritarian community in ethnic and religious matters, he alleged, was causing great frustrations to smaller communities that lacked political power.
“If USM does not change the dates to take into account the sensitiveness of Hindus, I suggest that these students boycott the convocation. ”
Earlier today, FMT reported that Hindu students in USM were up in arms over the proposed date for their convocation ceremony, which falls on the day before Deepavali this year.
According to USM’s official website, the university’s Chancellor, The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, has agreed for the 54th Convocation ceremony to be held from Oct 24 to Oct 28, 2016. Deepavali falls on October 29 this year.
Affected students told FMT that the decision was unfair and troublesome for them, especially for those who lived outside Penang.