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Kedah Rules-Out January 28 Thaipusam Public Holiday

Source: Bernama News Agency (Alor Setar)
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2021

The decision, by Kedah's Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, not to declare a one-off public holiday for Thaipusam, on Thursday, January 28, 2021, has drawn criticism from state officials as well as leaders of other states, such as Kedah's Human Resources Minister, M Saravanan, and Penang State Deputy Chief Minister, P Ramasamy.

Responding through the media, Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor stated that "Since there is no celebration this year, there will be no public holiday", and that "All this while, Thaipusam is not a public holiday in Kedah except for the last two years, it has been made as cuti peristiwa".

Indeed, in the Malaysian State of Kedah, Thaipusam has never been an annual public holiday, although Thaipusam was on occasion declared as a one-off cuti peristiwa occasional public holiday (2016-01-06, 2015-01-14 and 2014-01-13).

As is the case with many of Malaysia's public holidays, the history and observance of Thaipusam, in Kedah, are highly political issues.

In 2011 (2011-01-20), Malaysia's then Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, had announced that he would ensure that Thaipusam became a public holiday in Kedah State, if his Barisan Nasional (BN) party were to win the upcoming state elections, and the year after, the declaration of a new state non-working public holiday for Thaipusam was discussed at the weekly meeting of the state executive council (2013-07-15).

Then, in 2018 (2018-05-07) Ahmad Bashah bin Md Hanipah, the then caretaker Menteri Besar of Kedah, as well as Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman for Kedah, had announced that Thaipusam would be made an annual non-working public holiday in Kedah if the BN party retained the state with a two-thirds majority in May 9, 2018, general election. But, the BN ruling coalition lost that election to Pakatan Harapan (PH).

Malaysia's Government declared Thaipusam as a new annual state public holiday in the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, from 2008 onward (2008-01-20), and, currently Thaipusam is regularly observed as an annual public holiday in Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Putrajaya and Selangor (2020-06-25).

Links and References

Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "Kedah Rules-Out January 28 Thaipusam Public Holiday" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.