Premier promises to look into gazetting Deepavali as public holiday in Sarawak

Abang Johari (left) and Dr Kalwinder (combo pic).

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By Ling Hui & Chris Bishop

KUCHING, July 2: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has given his word to the Sikh and Indian communities that the Sarawak government will look into gazetting Deepavali as a public holiday.

He said the quota of entitled gazetted public holidays in Sarawak has already been used up, so the Attorney-General has to study the calendar for further action.

“We want to find out where we can slot it in, so that we can also gazette Deepavali as one of our public holidays.

“I don’t promise (that it will for sure happen), but I think I try my best,” he said when officiating at the earthbreaking ceremony of the Sikh Temple extension at Gurdwara Sahib Kuching here today.

Abang Johari noted that the business union may not be too fond of this idea because employers would have to give double pay to employees working on public holidays.

“Because they are afraid of double pay. This is (a concern by) the employers, but I have to look into it. We will slot it in if we can,” he added.

Abang Johari was responding to the request by Sarawak Sikh Temple Association president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira, who pointed out that Sarawak is the only State where Deepavali or Diwali is not a recognised public holiday.

Dr Kalwinder said this has been brought to attention many times before, and urged for the kind consideration of the Sarawak government. — DayakDaily