SUNGAI SIPUT: The Hindu community should be grateful and thankful to the government for giving some flexibility to physically celebrating Thaipusam this year by complying with the standard operating procedure (SOP) set.

MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran said that such a celebration like this now was not allowed last year.

"Unlike last year, this time the Hindus are allowed to perform the rituals as requested except for the carrying of the kavadis as it would be difficult to ensure adherence to the SOP due to the large crowds.

"If allowed, it is feared that it could be detrimental not only to the Hindu community but to all. So, the government has allowed the religious celebration be held but with tight control to curb the spread of COVID-19."

He said this when met by reporters after attending the Thaipusam celebration at the Sri Subramaniar Temple, here, today.

Vigneswaran said the SOP set by the government should be commended as it enabled a good Thaipusam celebration across the country.

"This shows that the government ensures that the concept of 'Keluarga Malaysia' is practised for all the communities in this country. Hopefully, the Hindus celebrating Thaipusam adhere to the SOP during this two-day celebration to ensure no new clusters and so on," he added.

Asked on developments with regard to the MIC Brigade, with its soft launching held last December, to attract the youths to join the party in facing the 15th General Election, Vigneswaran said it had received very good support, with 3,000 in Johor having joined it so far.

"The youth and women's brigades in Johor are expected to be launched next month.

"We are targeting at least 2,000 people in each state to join the MIC Brigade and its launching at the national level is expected to be officiated by Barisan Nasional chairman, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"At a discussion held with Ahmad Zahid two days ago, it was decided that the brigade's priorities be in line with the Undi18 implementation," he added.