Yesterday at the Malaysia Hindu Sangam’s Headquarters in Petaling Jaya, a press conference was held by the Coalition of Hindu NGOs and Temples to inform the public about their plans for organizing a more well-structured Thaipusam for devotees this year. Collectively known as the Thaipusam Task Force, the group has been operating for 10 years. The coalition expressed that their plans were designed for the spiritual and physical safety of both the devotees and the temple.
Deputy Chairperson of Hindu Dharma Maamandram, Rishikumar, spoke about the Tharmavel programme that would provide devotees with free access to prayer items to ensure that they would not litter the products after the rituals have commenced. According to the Hindu Coalition, devotees do not properly care for the blessed prayer items, and they hope that through this scheme, they can curtail this problem while also providing a more accessible way for devotees to commit to their devotion. Through this programme, devotees can save up to somewhere between RM 50 and RM 100. It will also be open to the public for the entire 24 hours during the day of Thaipusam.
Sentosa MP and Thaipusam Task Force Chairperson, Gunarajah George, is actively prioritising the safety and well-being of the devotees during the upcoming Thaipusam Festival. In an effort to ensure a secure environment, several guidelines have been established. These include restrictions on the sale of items that do not hold religious significance and prohibiting the sale of alcohol.
General rules for prayers have been introduced by the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, emphasizing the importance of traditional attire, Neerthikadan for those carrying the Kavadi, and maintaining cleanliness within the temples. To address the increased waste generated during the festival, the initiative has also planned for a substantial increase in the number of dustbins, with plans to engage young volunteers for assistance in maintaining cleanliness. The Thaipusam Task Force is poised to implement these measures across various Murugan temples nationwide, including prominent locations such as Batu Caves, Sungai Petani, Kuala Selangor, and Sitiawan.