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Penang gov't allocates RM1.5m for Indian community

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The Penang government has allocated RM1.5 million to Penang's Hindu Endowment Board (HEB) to implement various projects involving religion, education, health and development.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the allocation would also go to the restoration and well-keeping of Hindu burial grounds.

Penang’s HEB was formed under the former British colonial government of the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca and Singapore in 1906. 

It was established to provide financial aid to students from low-income families to complete their higher education, Chow added.

"Last year, the Penang HEB contributed more than RM345,000 to 109 students to study in public and private institutes of higher learning where 80 percent of the students had pursued skilled and technical courses," Chow said in a statement in conjunction with tomorrow's Thaipusam festival.

"The Penang government has increased its education fund allocation, from RM1.75 million to RM2 million, for Tamil national type schools," he said.

"For kindergartens in Tamil schools, the allocation increased from RM100,000 to RM150,000.

"Special funds for Tamil schools received an increase in allocation from RM100,000 to RM150,000, while Punjabi language medium schools got an increase in allocation from RM60,000 to RM90,000," the chief minister added.

"We have also made a contribution of RM200,000 to the Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Devasthanam Temple or Waterfall Hilltop Temple for the annual Thaipusam festival," he said.

Celebrated in the month of "Thai", the 10th month of the Tamil calendar, Penang expects two million visitors to the festival over the weekend.

The Thaipusam festival is celebrated to commemorate the triumph of good over evil as well to gain spiritual awareness, wisdom and knowledge.

Chow said in Penang, Thaipusam is one of the most important festivals and is celebrated grandly by devotees at several locations, starting from the Hilltop Murugan Temple, Jalan Kebun Bunga.

"It's not just a religious celebration. It has become a platform for local and international tourists to experience this unique Hindu traditional festival." 

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