Declaring public holiday for FT tomorrow ‘economically and socially disruptive’

A lawmaker, a medical expert and a former football manager are among those slamming the “unplanned” decision to declare a public holiday for the Federal Territories tomorrow.

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said it was “politically irresponsible” for Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (main image) to declare a public holiday for Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan tomorrow. Ong said the sudden declaration was “economically and socially disruptive for many.”

Shahidan made the announcement yesterday after Kuala Lumpur City FC won the Malaysia Cup, after 32 years. The city club defeated favourites Johor Darul Ta’zim 2-0 in the final.

“Kuala Lumpur is the heart of the country’s financial services sector and is the headquarters for many accounting and tax consultants, and multinational companies,” Ong said in a statement.

“This unexpected holiday will cost many companies millions (of ringgit) in unplanned lost output. Some companies may have to pay extra overtime to ensure that some of their core services remain up and running during this public holiday.”

He added face-to-face meetings had to be cancelled and bookings for training sessions and conferences postponed.

“Businesses which conduct transactions with government offices in Putrajaya will also have to delay their transactions till next week, which will also result in lost time and productivity.

“One wonders if the minister really thought about all these economic and social disruptions before announcing the public holiday yesterday. It wasn’t as though Malaysia had won our first Olympic gold medal or achieved something historic at an international sporting event,” said Ong, who is an avid sportsman.

Bank Negara Malaysia, in a statement today, said banks and financial institutions in Kuala Lumpur would remain open tomorrow despite it being a public holiday.

Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Science Council member and a former dean of Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine, also disapproved.

“Wow… is this truly necessary? It’s thrown our specialist professional exams, clinics, and operating theatre schedule, all helter-skelter.

“In my humble opinion, we really don’t need this, especially at a time when we have so much catching up to do as a result of Covid-19.”

Former Selangor FA manager, Zakaria Rahim, said Kuala Lumpur City was a professional club and its win had nothing to do with the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

“In Malaysia today, all teams are clubs, not the (state) government’s, and have nothing to do with the respective states. Their victories have got nothing to do with government departments, banks or factories,” said Zakaria.

“The footballers are paid thousands of ringgit. They have a responsibility to the club they represent, not to the state. If the club doesn’t pay their wages, they leave for another team, including those from other states.”

He said it was odd that a club from Kuala Lumpur had won, but offices in Putrajaya and Labuan would also be closed tomorrow.

“Let’s stop this holiday culture when we win a football tournament or in any sporting event. Let’s celebrate, but productivity must continue.

“Malaysia already has too many holidays. Plenty of holidays doesn’t mean a good work-life balance, but a productivity loss to the nation.”

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