Deepavali may be made public holiday

KUCHING: The state government will look at the state’s gazetted public holidays to see where it can slot in Deepavali as a public holiday.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in giving this assurance yesterday, said there is limit to the number of public holidays the state can have in a year.

He said to accommodate Deepavali will require an amendment in the gazetted public holidays.

“We have to look at our old public holidays…maybe we have to find one of our public holidays that can be replaced with Deepavali,” he said, adding there are now over 10,000 Indians in the state.

“We (state government) will be looking into it seriously,” he told reporters after visiting the residence of a local Indian community leader, Penghulu Paliani Samba Bilaidom @ Lucy Lingam, in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration yesterday.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS… Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg lights up a lamp during his Deepavali visit to Kuching Indian community leader Penghulu Lucy Lingam yesterday. Looking on at first and third left respectively are Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Children Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.

Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia which has yet to gazette Deepavali as a public holiday.

According to the school year calendar, the holiday for the celebration is only given to the school teachers and students since 2016.

The State Education Department has announced that there will be no school session on Friday (Oct 25) and Monday (Oct 28) in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration which falls yesterday (Oct 27).

Also present were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah; and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion.