Kuala Lumpur, Feb 19: The first batch of 63 Hindu priests, musicians and sculptors from India have 'graduated' from the Human Resources Institute in Malasiya.
The group, comprising 22 priests, 22 musicians and 19 sculptors, and representing 31 temples across India underwent a one-day induction course. The group was the first in Malaysia to receive such a certificate.
Human Resources Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said the induction programme, a condition imposed by the Immigration Department after a cabinet decision, was to familiarise them with the workplace, local culture and laws.
"The course was conducted by religious and labour experts from the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and the Immigration Department in line with the Cabinet decision last July allowing the recruitment of Hindu priests, musicians and sculptors from India," he added.
Dr Subramaniam brought up the issue in the cabinet following an outcry from the MIC, temples and the Malaysian Hindu Sangam. He said the cabinet also wanted Malaysians to be trained as priests.
The Cabinet allowed the recruiting of new priests but imposed conditions, including the need for them to undergo an induction course.
There was a shortage of Hindu priests after the Government, in late 2007, decided to freeze the recruitment of new priests from India, NST reported.