No rush: Muslims leaving Masjid Jamek Bandar Baru UDA Johor Baru after Friday prayers. Schoolchildren are happy that they no longer have to hurry back to school on Fridays.
JOHOR BARU: The day dawned with little din on the roads with no school buses picking up children and many people staying indoors because they need not go to work.
By the middle of the day, however, there was a lot of bustle in the streets with the faithful going to mosques for Friday prayers and others jamming shopping malls and eating joints.
This was Friday in Johor, where the public sector no longer observes Saturday and Sunday as the weekly rest days.
Banks, shopping malls and many businesses, however, were open as they have the option of either following the public sector or continue observing Saturday and Sunday as their weekly rest days.
Public Bank Bhd senior financial executive Ben Yu Wei Leong, 26, said leaving for work in Taman Sentosa from his house in Taman Bukit Kempas was a smooth journey yesterday.
“Usually, it takes about 45 minutes to reach my working place. But today (Friday), I reached the office in 20 minutes because there was less traffic,” he said.
Yu said he looked forward to enjoying the smooth ride even if it was only on Fridays.
“It’s good enough for me, as I feel less stress driving on the non-congested roads,” he said.
Creative executive Rosman Kasiman, 35, from Taman Perling, said traffic was relatively smooth as there were no school buses on the roads or parents sending their children to school.
But, he added, there was a downside to the off-day as he found it difficult to get a parking bay when he returned to his office at the City Square shopping centre after returning from the mosque.
“The shopping complex was crowded with families and their children, unlike previously when Friday was a working day,” added Rosman.
Policeman Badrul Hasnan, 25, from Taman Mutiara, said he took the new weekend as an opportunity to bring his parents, nieces and nephews to the Johor Zoo.
He said the change in the weekly off-days helped to ease the crowd at the zoo, adding that local visitors did not have to jostle for space with tourists from abroad or from other states.
Badrul said he and the males in the family had no problem going for Friday prayers because the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque was just walking distance from the zoo.
Schoolboy Muhammad Amirul Lukman, 15, from Taman Pelangi said he did not have to rush back to his school in Taman Sri Tebrau after Friday prayers as he previously did.
“It is good to get an off-day on Friday as I can go to the mosque with schoolmates living in the same neighbourhood,” he said.