KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — After criticism over his sudden public holiday announcement for the Federal Territories, its minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim today claimed he had proposed it to the prime minister after he was “greatly pressured” by Kuala Lumpur residents.
The Arau MP also defended his move by saying the holiday is deserved as the KL City FC’s victory comes on the 100th year of the Malaysia Cup, which was introduced in 1921.
“If I go to Facebook now, the majority of KL folks will support me over the holiday given. All the MPs are also excited. Shah Alam is also excited,” he said in jest, referring to his predecessor and staunch critic Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.
“This is the 100th year. No one is 100 years old in this Parliament. This 100th year, KL has won the Malaysia Cup. The 100th time. Simply memorable,” he said, adding that the holiday is a way to give thanks to God for the victory.
Shahidan said that the announcement for Friday was done two days earlier to take into account time needed to prepare for it, unlike other states that would immediately announce a holiday for the next day after winning a tournament.
Earlier, in warning of disruptions to clinic and hospital schedules, infectious diseases expert Professor Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman questioned the last minute decision to declare a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur just because the city’s football club beat Johor for the Malaysia Cup.
The University of Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine former dean pointed out the Covid-19 crisis had already messed up the schedule for many health appointments, including surgery, but making tomorrow a public holiday would only exacerbate the situation as doctors were to sit for their specialist exams.
In a separate statement, DAP’s Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said that the public holiday announcement was irresponsible, socially and economically disruptive.
He said the unexpected holiday declaration will cost many companies millions of ringgit in unplanned lost output as Kuala Lumpur, being the national capital, is the country’s centre of the services sector.
In her speech during the debate session on Budget 2022 in the Dewan Rakyat, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok also called for more thought before announcing public holidays, saying that not everyone is a football fan.
KL City FC scored 2-0 over Johor Darul Ta’zim in the Malaysia Cup on Tuesday night, winning the title after 32 years, with the last title won in 1989.
The match was held at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium with over 20,000 fans in attendance.
*Note: A previous edition of the story contained an error which has since been corrected.