LINGGA: Sarawak feels it is not necessary to declare a public holiday on polling eve on Nov 18, as giving workers an extra rest day could affect productivity, says Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said the state government had to consider the economic impact of any decision like declaring a special public holiday.
"I think it (declaring holiday) is not appropriate as it would affect the economy, with productivity dropping and employers having to pay workers more (if recalled to work).
"I have considered this matter rationally because I know about its impact. Of course, everyone will be happy to have a holiday,” he told a news conference after the launch of the Sarawakku Sayang programme here on Saturday (Nov 12).
On Nov 7, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) suggested that Nov 18 be made a public holiday to make it easier for people to travel outstation to vote, and on Tuesday Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was considering the matter.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the Sarawak government had long-term plans to develop rural areas like Lingga.
He said among the high-cost development projects planned were construction of the Batang Lupar bridge linking Sebuyau with Lingga and minor bridges and roads connecting Lingga town to strategic areas in Sri Aman.
He said the agriculture sector in Lingga had huge potential and the state government through the Sri Aman Development Agency (SADA) would continue to plan various development projects required by the people.
"SADA is chaired by former Batang Lupar MP Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim and all elected representatives in the Batang Lupar parliamentary constituency will be involved in coordinating development in this division.
"In this comprehensive development, we see that Banting and its surrounding areas (near Lingga) also can become locations for food security. To drive this sector, we want to undertake comprehensive development of infrastructure, even if it involves high costs and is financed with our own funds,” he added. - Bernama