PETALING JAYA: Moving national holidays, which fall in the middle of the week to weekends, may have merit but it may not be practical, according to several groups.
The proposal, which was made by Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, was discussed by the Cabinet and forwarded to the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Shamsuddin Osman to be considered for implementation.
Nazri said this would allow people to have longer weekends and boost local tourism.
Cuepacs president Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said the suggestion had merit but might not be applicable as many of the public holidays were based on festivals.
Not all public holidays can be shifted to weekends as religious festivals can only be observed on the stipulated dates,'' he said.
Malaysian Hindu Sangam president A. Vaithilingam said it was not viable to move festivals such as Hari Raya, Deepavali and Thaipusam to other dates as they were specified.
Dates for Hindu festivals are determined by astrology and astronomy and it would be meaningless to observe them on other days,'' he added.
Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye concurred that festive events could not be moved.
Some festivals such as the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya are fixed according to religion and tradition. It's best that the current practices be left as they are,'' he said.
National Union of the Teaching Profession president Tengku Habsah Tengku Petra said it was not logical or practical to suggest such a move.
How can religious-based festivals be moved to dates other than that which have already been stipulated?
Generally people observe these days with prayers and to suggest that they do it some other day is tantamount to being disrespectful,'' she said, adding that additional weekends off would also result in teachers and schools being strapped for time to carry out paperwork and co-curricular activities.