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Sunday, 14 January 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM

PM Najib hopes Ponggal will usher in a new beginning

PETALING JAYA: The Prime Minister has called on Malaysians to strengthen unity and understanding among each other with the hope that the Ponggal celebration will bring a new beginning for a developed and successful Malaysia.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysians should look back at the journey that the nation had gone through and the various obstacles and challenges faced to build a peaceful, harmonious and a modern nation today.

In his Ponggal message, which was posted on his blog, he wrote, “Thai piranthal vazhi pirakkum” (The start of the Tamil month Thai will pave the way for new opportunities).

“The Government’s inclusive approach and the priority of ­cooperation with the community has enabled over half a million Indians to benefit directly through government programmes and projects since 2009.

“These will continue to ensure that the future of the Indian community in Malaysia is well taken care of.

“Believe me, the future is ours together. ‘Naalai Namathey!’ I take this opportunity to wish Selamat Hari Ponggal or ‘Ponggal Vaalthukal’ to all Indian societies in Malaysia,” Najib wrote.

In Melaka, Little India along Jalan Bendahara turned lively because of shoppers rushing to get Ponggal items.

The festive atmosphere also attracted tourists from China buying earthen pots usually used to boil sweet rice during the festival.

For Insp G. Gunaasellan from the Jasin police headquarters, duty comes first as he is celebrating the harvest festival without his family for the first time.

The 28-year-old bachelor shopped for festive items in Jasin town where he will start his celebration by boiling sweet rice.

Insp Gunaasellan, an investigation officer at the traffic department, is away from his hometown as this is his first posting after ­graduating from the police training college.

“My job comes first and I told my family in Seremban that I won’t be able to join them,” he said yesterday.