The state of Johor is considering revising its rest days, which are currently on Friday and Saturday, according to Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
He also stated that he has been paying attention to people’s complaints about the disparities in rest days for private and government institutions.
“The state government will look into this so that parents and children can rest on the same days,” he explained.
Similar concerns have been addressed in the past, however the state ultimately declined to alter its weekend when prompted to in April 2014, just 4 months after the new rule was implemented.
Besides business and family-related complaints, the public has also opposed the Saturday-Sunday weekend as it clashed with their dealings, personal or otherwise, with persons from other states who observed a Friday-Saturday weekend such as KL.
The state has mandated a weekend change since January 1, 2014, owing to a decree issued by state Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in conjunction with his 55th birthday which fell on November 23, 2013.
According to reports, he stated that the decision was made to make things easier for Muslims in the state to conduct Friday prayers.
Previously, it was Saturday and Sunday, as is still the case in the private sector in Johor.
Aside from Johor, states such as Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu also have Friday and Saturday as their default weekends.
Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin stated back in 2013 that he was convinced that changing the state’s rest days from Saturday and Sunday to Friday and Saturday would not pose a significant impact on the state’s economy.
This, he explained, was because those who had Sunday off could still run a business with the state government because Sunday was a regular working day for state government workers.
“I don’t believe that, in this day and age of rapid advances in technology, a change in weekends will have a significant impact on the state’s economy.”
“Furthermore, before 1994, Johor used to observe Friday as its rest day,” he explained after the investiture ceremony conducted in line with the birthday celebration of the Johor Sultan, at Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim in 2013.
During the early days of the Friday-Saturday weekend, several businesses were concerned that the change would have an impact on them.
P. Sivakumar, president of the Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba), had called for a thorough investigation before making major changes.
He claimed that investments in the state, particularly in Iskandar Malaysia, would suffer.
“It is not the right time for such change in Johor, especially given the state’s rapid development and foreign investment,” he told the Star at the time.