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“Stop Giving Special Holidays!” – M’sia Commerce Assoc President Urges Gov’t To Be More Mindful In Declaring Public Holidays

No more special public holidays?

The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) President, Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai, has urged the government to refrain from declaring additional public holidays, an act he labels as an unwelcome “surprise” to the business community.

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For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Freepik

NCCIM president urges gov’t to stop giving ‘surprise’

According to Sin Chew Daily, the Minister of Economic Affairs, Rafizi, responded by affirming that he would carry this message into cabinet discussions.

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Rafizi addressed Soh Thian Lai’s plea during his speech at the 2023 National Economic Forum.

Soh suggested that the government should not make decisions based on whims, such as impulsively declaring special holidays. I will bring this issue to the cabinet meeting for further discussion,” he added.

He humorously added that, unlike Soh, he cannot freely express his thoughts during cabinet meetings, saying, “I can’t speak my mind as I used to.”

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RM3 billion loss for every public holiday

Soh Thian Lai, who also serves as the president of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), noted that each time the government declares a special holiday, it results in approximately RM 3 billion loss for the private sector.

Soh tian lai public holiday
Tan Sri Soh Tian Lai, screengrab via Sin Chew Daily

“The manufacturing industry alone loses RM 1 billion a day, with productivity also affected, and this doesn’t even include staff salaries,” he stated.

Soh explained that the private sector incurs a loss of around RM 700 million on a public holiday. Furthermore, employees working on public holidays are entitled to triple pay, which amounts to roughly RM 2 billion.

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“As such, the total loss in a day amounts to RM 3 billion,” he said.

“We request the government not to announce any more public holidays. We do not want these surprises. The government’s job is to improve the economy and ensure the operation of government departments, not to declare holidays.”

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