Staggered school holiday proposal

GEORGE TOWN: Any parent who took their kids to Cameron High­lands, Melaka, here or any other holiday spot during the school holidays might like the suggestion of staggered school holidays.

“Instead of a week-long school holiday for the whole nation, we can spread the holiday season over three weeks.

“We propose having different school holiday seasons for the northern, southern and east coast regions,” said Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (pic).

He said his ministry was preparing a full report on the proposal for the Education Ministry to consider scheduling different school holiday seasons for the country.

When the school holidays are staggered, he said, the quality of domestic tourism would be higher because there would be less overcrowding issues.

“We will also have better traffic management and tourism players won’t have to face a feast-or-famine situation,” he added.

He said his ministry’s proposal was for the mid-term school holidays in March, June and September but it would not include the longer year-end holiday.

“The report is almost ready. We are getting more data. If we say Cameron Highlands is crowded during the school holidays, how crowded does it get? In this big data era, we have to be thorough about what we suggest,” Muhammad Bakhtiar told reporters after opening the National Archaeological Seminar here yesterday.

He said staggered breaks were already happening in Malaysia, with folks in Kedah, Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu having their weekend breaks on Fridays and Saturdays.

Besides this, he said his ministry was studying another proposal of setting more public holidays to fall on Mondays for people to enjoy long weekends.

“Labour Day is celebrated on May 1, but if we celebrate it on the first Monday of each May, it will be a good break for everyone and tourism players will enjoy better business,” Muhammad Bakthiar added.

He said one in four Malaysians worked in tourism-related businesses and with 14.9% of the nation’s GDP coming from the industry, it was vital to find ways to enhance it by creating better holiday seasons to promote domestic tourism.