| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 11 March 2016 | Asia Samachar |
The annual religious programme to kick-off Vaisakhi in Malaysia has been held in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, since 1999. This year, it may not take place at its usual venue as in the past 16 years.
Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), the Sikh youth organisation which has made the annual programme as one of its signature events, may take it to a local gurdwara due to funding constraints.
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At the last SNSM executive committee held in late February, SNSM had actually decided not to proceed with the programme in Cheras, but to explore hosting it at a gurdwara in Klang Valley.
“At that meeting, some members strongly advised the leadership not to organise the event in Cheras due to escalating cost. As an alternate, it was suggested that we organise it at a local gurdwara, so that the Sanggat will know that we are short of funds. Holding it at Cheras will show its business as usual at the Sabha,” one SNSM exco member, who was present at the meeting, told Asia Samachar. [Corrected].
SNSM parchaar division head Avtar Singh (Terry), the point person who handles invitations to foreign raagi jathas and speakers, said a final decision is expected to be taken tomorrow (12 March 2016).
“We are mindful of the sentiment of the members who raised a number of issues with regards to the Cheras programme at the last AGM,” he tells Asia Samachar.
“Yesterday, we had a meeting with the Gurdwara Sahib Klang committee to explore the option of holding the event in there.”
At the 2015 annual general meeting (AGM), SNSM members had raised an alarm on the escalating costs for various programmes, including the Vaisakhi kick-off, officially called the Grand Vaisakhi Event, but commonly referred to as the Cheras programme.
“Due to escalating cost, it is being considered if it should be still held at IYC or in a Gurdwara,” said SNSM jathedar Pavandeep Singh in a text message released yesterday in response to a number of messages circulating via the social media that the programme had been cancelled.
The programme was initially mooted as a one-off programme to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa in 1999, but has since become an annual feature in the SNSM calendar.
The four-day programme has been taking place at an international centre in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. It attracts a huge Sanggat. SNSM sponsors, directly or indirectly, popular raagi’s like Sarabjit Singh Ranggila Durg Wale, Gurpreet Singh Shimla Wale and Chardi Kala Jatha.
The poster for the Grand Vaisakhi Event 2016, planned for 31 March to 3 April, is already up at the SNSM website and had been widely distributed via social media.
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