Friday, September 19, 2003

Many caught off-guard by extra holiday

Daily Express
18 September, 2003

Kota Kinabalu: While the surprise announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Haji Aman of an extended public holiday Wednesday for Sabah should be welcomed by most people, it had also resulted in public confusion.

Many workers and students were caught off-guard Wednesday morning as they went about for a routine work or school day, only to find their offices and schools empty.

Some students here and in Penampang, especially those with wet uniforms due to the heavy morning rain, were delighted on learning they had been given another day off after the Tuesday public holiday in conjunction with the Head of State’s official birthday.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, made a sudden announcement soon after midnight Tuesday to declare Wednesday a public holiday, to a loud applause by the remaining audience at the National Merdeka Month closing celebration at the Likas Sports Complex.

This (extra holiday) was a gesture of appreciation by the State Government for all those Sabahans involved in making the celebration a success.

As early as 6am, Sabah RTM repeated the announcement several times on the radio, catching many motorists on their routine journey to work by surprise.

The Daily Express press office in Tanjung Aru was deluged with calls from members of the public wishing to confirm the “holiday rumour” passed around by friends.

However, the ongoing Primary School Assessment Test (UPSR) continued as usual.

Some workers caught off-guard were visibly disappointed by the sudden announcement, saying they had wasted their time travelling long distances, from as far as Papar, Beaufort and Tuaran to their places of work, only to discover some of their colleagues waiting there in a state of confusion.

They felt that any proposal to extend a public holiday should be properly organised to avoid public inconvenience.

The Chief Minister should have made the announcement during his speech while all eyes were glued to their television screens to watch the closing ceremony of the 46th Merdeka Month celebration, telecast “live” nationwide, they said.

Note: Many more were stucked in Tarakan and Nunukan, East Kalimantan, Indonesian when passengers on ship were told that Tawau Immigration was closed due to the sudden announcement of holiday. Immigration office at the passenger terminal in Tawau does not open on public holidays and Sundays. These passengers who were already on board the ships were told to leave causing them to incure additional expenses on transportation, food, lodging and connecting transportations cancellation.

Such announcement made by the Chief Minister was certainly unwise and should never be repeated. We feel no sympathy for the CM when he was cursed by the people on the street for making a "foolish" announcement. He should have postpond the holiday to a later date where everyone in the state has ample time to prepare and to enjoy. If the holiday was intended for everyone then make sure everyone gets to enjoy it. Such action is similar to a lazy teacher dismissing his class early but the students have no transport to go home. We hope this is not an indication of how the CM carrying out his duties.

One mark deducted from the Chief Minster, Datuk Musa Aman.

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