Jelutong MP calls for two-day Deepavali holiday, citing ‘not enough days’ after Covid-19 lockdown last year

·2-min read
People wearing protective masks shop at Little India, Klang ahead of the upcoming Deepavali festival celebrations on October 23, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
People wearing protective masks shop at Little India, Klang ahead of the upcoming Deepavali festival celebrations on October 23, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 ― An Opposition MP has today called for a two-day national holiday to be given for Deepavali, arguing that the single public holiday observed for the festival in the present is insufficient.

Raising the issue in Parliament during the Second Reading of the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill 2020, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer had urged Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan to consider the matter.

“Maybe this matter will not be included in today’s Bill debate but during Cabinet meetings...at least the minister being an Indian representative in the Cabinet is able to bring our (Opposition) request to make it compulsory for employers to grant at least two public holidays to their workers especially those in the private sector,” Rayer said to Saravanan.

Explaining further, Rayer pointed out that Deepavali is usually limited to a single day of public holiday.

“Coupled with those celebrating the festival unable to do so last year due to Covid-19, at least this time they can return to their hometowns. Maybe the minister can discuss this and propose it to the Cabinet.

“A single day of public holiday is not enough,” Rayer said.

In response, Saravanan said he will bring the matter to the Cabinet when it convenes.

Under the First Schedule of the Holidays Act, only Hari Raya Aidilfitri is given two days of public holiday in the country while Chinese New Year is only given a similar number of days except for Kelantan and Terengganu.

Under Section 8 of the same Act, the prime minister may by notification in the Federal Gazette or such other manner as they think fit declare any day as a public holiday in the Peninsular, the Federal Territories or certain states (after consulting the respective state authority).

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