KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government’s decision to declare an additional public holiday for Hari Raya Puasa will not hurt the private sector, said Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan on Thursday (Apr 20).
“I don’t see this decision (as) disturbing the private sector and I think the festive atmosphere is felt by all communities.
“So it’s not troubling and hurting (the private sector),” Mr Ahmad was quoted as saying by Bernama.
He added that the additional holiday is similar to the free “Rahmah” toll implemented by the government which aims to help the public. Mr Ahmad was referring to the four-day toll waiver along 33 highways in the country for all road users in Malaysia in conjunction with Hari Raya Puasa.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had on Tuesday announced that an extra public holiday will be granted to Malaysians on Friday or next Monday, depending on when Hari Raya Puasa will be celebrated in the country.
According to Bernama, Mr Anwar said that the extra public holiday would make it easier for people to make preparations for the festival and to return to their hometowns.
However, the decision was criticised by Mr Ameer Ali Mydin, the managing director of the Mydin chain of hypermarkets and retail outlets, in an interview on a local television station later on Tuesday.
Mr Ameer said that the additional holiday would cause his company to bear a loss of RM500,000 (US$112,700).
“This is a cost for merchants … When a sudden announcement (of a public holiday) is made, for Mydin alone, we (will lose) half a million. Easily half a million,” said Mr Ameer.
He added: “I think this government must not only be populist.”