Gerakan accused of sabotaging Thaipusam by organising Penang Run 2013" on Jan 27, from 6am to 10am.

Penang DAP Socialist Youth leaders paid a rare visit to Gerakan's headquarters in Jalan Macalister to submit a memorandum criticising the party for being "insensitive" in organising a sports event on Thaipusam day.

Led by Dapsy sports bureau chief David Marshel and state assistant secretary Satees Muniandy, the group went into Gerakan's office to hand over the document to a party representative.

NONEHowever, no one was willing to receive the document, so they left it at the counter.

In the memorandum, the group, accompanied by state Dapsy chief Ng Wei Aik and several other members, condemned Gerakan for organising the event dubbed "Penang Run 2013" on Jan 27, from 6am to 10am.

Satees said that Gerakan should advice their representatives and members in the organising committee to reschedule the event and apologise to the Indian and Hindu community for their oversight.

"Why do they want to do it on the same day? Do they intend to sabotage the Thaipusam festival as this can hurt the feelings of the Indian community?" queried Satees at a press conference held yesterday.

Event insensitive to Hindus

The state government received various complaints about the programme's date as its name gave the impression that the former was the organiser.

Deputy Chief Minister II and Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairperson P Ramasamy - who oversees the Thaipusam programme - had to clarify several times that the state had nothing to do with the matter.

This prompted Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to say that any party wishing to use the word 'Penang' in its events must seek the approval of the administration.

Organisers of the event - scheduled to kick off in Universiti Sains Malaysia - are Tanjung Social Club and Penang Forwards Sports Club with the support of the federal-backed Sports and Youth department.

NONEMarshel (right) denied that DAP was politicising the event, saying it was Gerakan which did it first by featuring the picture of a tree with the party's election issues on the event poster, which has since been removed.

"We are not against the run or participants, but just do not agree with the date. Organising committee chairman Lim Choo Hooi said the event is to heat up the Thaipusam celebrations.

"But would you do that on the first day of Hari Raya Puasa or Chinese New Year?" he queried.
Don't divert issue Gerakan told

Ng said although Gerakan is not the organiser but they are behind it as their members sit in the committee. 

"BN Penang chief Teng Chang Yeow should address the complaints and grievances generated from the event," added the Komtar assemblyperson.

"Don't divert the issue, which is why the Penang Run is being held on the same day as Thaipusam. It is not about the usage of the word 'Penang'," stressed Lim's political secretary.

Ng said if the organisers wish to proceed with the event, the state government cannot prevent them from doing so but warned that Gerakan may lose more Indian votes.

Runner M.Anbukarasan, who was with the group, said that he and his dad would have to attend the Thaipusam festival after participating in the event.

"We take sports seriously and always take part in a running event. But now I have to join the run in the morning and then go for Thaipusam after that".

NONEWhile the press conference was going on, a motorcyclist stopped by and started shouting at the Dapsy members.

The man demanded to know how Lim's political secretary Zairil Khir Johari managed to gain500 extra votesafter the corrected version of the DAP's internal polls were announced recently.

He asked in the Hokkien dialect "So where is the so-called clean elections as promised?".

Despite being ignored by Dapsy leaders, the man continued to shout for around ten minutes and moved away after Marshel and Satees left the Gerakan office.
Childish accusing Gerakan of sabotage
Later, state Gerakan chief Dr Teng Hock Nam asked if there were any DAP members in the Penang Run organising committee.
"How can you say this is a Gerakan event just because Lim Choo Hooi is involved? There are DAP members involved as well, why not claim it is a DAP event?" he questioned.

NONEOn the party's logo which featured the campaign for a free port in the event poster earlier, Teng (2nd from left in photo) said that any NGOs - like the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce - can use it if they support the issues and wish to promote them as they can bring about economic growth.

"Penang BN used to sponsor the event but we have already pulled out of it. The organisers have clarified that the event is not backed by any political parties, so why is Ramasamy and Dapsy still saying that this is our programme?" asked Teng, who was a former state executive councillor.

"How can we sabotage Thaipusam day? It is so childish to say so, they are dividing the people for nothing and out of nothing," he added.

"They are hoping the Indian community would not vote for us on this reason but Penang Indians are far more cleverer than they can imagine and would not be so easily misled," he stressed.

"You can fool the people.....but you can't fool all the people all the time".

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