Additional public holiday for Christmas meaningful for Sabahans

People attend Christmas Eve Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur December 24, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
People attend Christmas Eve Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur December 24, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

RANAU, Dec 25 — The declaration of an additional public holiday on December 24 in conjunction with Christmas by the Sabah state government this year has been met with gratitude among the people of the state.

United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang, 45, said the extra holiday, which was given for the first time, was meaningful to those celebrating the occasion.

“Today, we see many visitors to this Christmas Open House, which shows that in this country, especially in Sabah, we are very fortunate, that despite being from different religions, we celebrate Christmas Day together,” he said when met during the party’s open house held at the Ranau Community Hall here today.

Also present at the event were Deputy Sabah Chief Minister and UPKO president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and other state cabinet ministers.

Meanwhile, medical assistant Chyrill Gules John, said the extra day off gave him more time to spend Christmas with his family in Kampung Marakau.

Affectionately known as Aril, the 30-year-old who works at the Jalan Perak Health Clinic in Penang, makes it a point to return home for Christmas Day every year.

“Although I have only been in Penang for two years, I definitely plan to be with my family every Christmas, because it is more fun, and I can help them prepare for the celebration,” he said.

Nancy Lau, 40, who is from Keningau district, said it was fair that an extra holiday was allocated for Christmas as other festivals were given two days’ holiday, and this year’s Christmas celebration felt more festive.

She said the two-day holiday allowed her to come to Ranau to meet her friends and celebrate Christmas together, as well as share the joy with  other members of the community.

On December 11, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced December 24 as an additional public holiday in conjunction with the Christmas celebrations, beginning this year. — Bernama

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