KUANTAN: The phrase “Thank God it’s Friday” may take on a different meaning for folks in Pahang soon if the state assembly gets to change the weekend rest days to Friday and Saturday. The subject matter has been hotly debated for two days now.
On Tuesday, Rosli Abdul Jabar (PAS-Tanjung Lumpur) proposed turning Friday into an off day in the interest of Muslims who pray on that day.
Chow Yu Hui (PH-Tras), who objected, said the proposal was placing Islam above all others in a diverse community.
He called on the state government not to implement it for the sake of inclusiveness.
Chow also said the move would affect businesses especially in Pahang, which had to draw in foreign investors.
Andansura Rabu (PAS-Beserah) said the move was actually not new as four states in Malaysia had already implemented it.
He said Johor, which was one of the states that had Friday as a rest day, had a more complex racial makeup than Pahang but the people in the state could still accept the change.
“If we are talking about democracy, Islam needs to be given the priority based on racial lines.
“Kelantan and Terengganu are the other states which have rest days on Friday and Saturday. Let us use the east coast spirit in moving forward on this proposal,” said Andansura during the state assembly sitting yesterday.
He added that prayer times were also not fixed, which caused Muslims to be in a rush on Friday and not have enough time to eat.
Former mentri besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob (BN-Pelangai), on the other hand, was in favour of maintaining the status quo.
He said work hours could be adjusted if those who are for the move wanted to argue that prayer times are not fixed.
“I would also like to see a survey done on whether there will be more or less Muslims praying at mosques if the Government were to make Friday an off day,” said Adnan.
Young Syefura Othman (PH-Ketari) said many in Johor had also complained of the lack of family time due to the private sector’s workdays clashing with school days.
“We have to understand that in Johor, the private sector’s workdays are still from Monday to Friday. That only leave parents in the private sector with Saturday as family time,” she said, adding that this would also present a problem in organising community activities during the weekend.
In explaining his proposal, Rosli said the move would foster harmony by preventing ill feelings between employers and Muslim employees.
“Sometimes, employers are reluctant to let their workers out to pray. There may be a clash of religions and this move will solve the problem,” Rosli said outside the state assembly.
He also said that the proposed move was actually beneficial to businesses as the usual working time on Friday was only about six hours.
“If we change Sunday into a workday, this actually increases productivity as we now have the full eight-hours,” he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the topic had invited a variety of views and it was better for the state government to study the matter and make the decision.