Malaysia needs a more rational and objective criteria in declaring special public holidays

Congratulations to the Kuala Lumpur City FC for winning the Malaysia Cup. It was a well-deserved victory, and naturally all its fans, whether KL residents or elsewhere, are excited to see their team lift the trophy after a wait of 32 years.
No doubt, it is a joyous occasion. But is it necessary to declare a public holiday to celebrate this achievement? Surely an unscheduled public holiday is disruptive to economic activities, and sets a precedent for more unscheduled holidays to be declared in years to come. 
Are we to declare public holidays for every sporting achievement? Badminton is a popular national sport, while our divers and cyclists are all world class. Do we declare holidays when they win a world tournament? Surely they are all joyous moments.
If we don’t, then this creates preferential treatment for one game over another. If we do, we are on a slippery slope of having too many celebratory holidays.
Bank Negara Malaysia has decided to exercise its power by calling all banks to continue operations as usual today (Dec 3). This is not without reason, as the banking and financial sector is crucial in supporting the economy which has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years.
Other essential sectors, as well as hospitality and retail sectors, will also continue operating – but employers will have to pay them more for working on a public holiday. The extra operating costs is detrimental to businesses that have already been severely rocked by the pandemic.
We would like to call for a more rational and objective criteria in declaring special public holidays. We can, and should, continue to celebrate the achievements of our athletes. But perhaps this can be done in a more targeted approach, such as a gathering with the fans.

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