DECEMBER 2 — We at G25 congratulate and together celebrate the unexpected win by underdogs Kuala Lumpur (KL) as they beat giants JDT (Johor Darul Ta’zim) to end the 32-year long drought for the Malaysia Cup 2021 — the most prestigious prize for football, our national sport.
In the excitement and amidst the euphoria, the Minister of the Federal Territories, has declared Friday, December 3, 2021, a public holiday as KL-ites, specifically football fans, rejoice, soak and bask in the glory. For most of us it is business as usual. Or is it?!
We question the need for yet another unscheduled holiday which may not be as welcoming as it is to the football fans. As it is, Malaysia is already noted for having the most number of public holidays in a year. There are 15 national holidays this year in addition to state holidays which differ between each state.
The various Chambers of Commerce cry foul each time an unscheduled holiday is declared as holidays become costly for businesses. Malaysia is pricing itself out of the competition for foreign investments if we go too far. We hope that the government will refrain from making sudden decisions on public holidays such as this because it is costly for companies which have to remain open in order to meet the local and foreign orders for their products. When their workers work on a public holiday, the employers have to pay extra in wages. Catching businesses by surprise and making them pay higher wages to their workers is not good business sense.
That being said, we would like to congratulate Bank Negara Malaysia for looking ahead with their announcement today that they, as well as all banks in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, will be open and operating as usual this Friday.
Business aside, hospitals are severely affected too. Imagine a public teaching hospital in the capital city which will need to re-schedule its daily capacity of 900 appointments in its clinics, especially as hospitals clear their covid backlog. In some cases, patients wait six months to see a specialist and such an unscheduled holiday will further delay the much-needed appointment which may end up being a life-or-death situation. Scheduled medical professional examinations and lecture theatre bookings go haywire.
In ensuring that there is less congestion, students and teachers are only just beginning to settle down with the rotation model. Schools need to quickly bridge the learning loss which have been devastating for our children and grandchildren with Malaysia comparatively having one of the longest school closures globally. While it may just be one day, affected schools still need to find time in the timetable to replace the lost day.
For Malaysia’s sake, we would like to see the bad practice of making unscheduled holidays stop as they become disruptive. By all means celebrate and glorify successes, but it need not be through a surprise holiday. While the idea of a holiday is well-intended, it needs to be thoroughly thought through to avoid any problematic consequences. Give exceptions and exemptions should there be a request to not close but instead add on a day’s leave for the employee to enjoy at a later stage. Not everyone is welcoming of surprises, pleasant or otherwise.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.