Thursday, January 05, 2012


I read in the STAR today about the many holidays that we have in Malaysia. I was quite upset last year when the government declared a public holiday when the Malaysia football team won the ASEAN football trophy, so I wrote this piece. I did not have time to send it in then, so I send it in this afternoon. Lets see if they will publish it.

Dear Editor,

I read with interest, your article in the STAR today, 5th Jan 2012, about the many public holidays in Malaysia.

Malaysia is one of those countries with too many public holidays ( in my opinion ). There are national holidays, state holidays, religious holidays, ethnic group holidays and even emergency ( unplanned ) holidays for winning sports trophies. This can total to almost 2 months, if you add in the paid annual leaves for employees. Is this not too much?

As an employee ( working for a fixed salary ), you would like as many holidays as possible, as you get money for no work. As an employer, you will be greatly aggrieved, as you are paying out ( losing money ), for no work done ( loss of productivity ).

What is often forgotten, is the medical cost of holidays, especially unscheduled ones. Every time a holiday is declared, all the outpatients scheduled ( and there are literally thousands in public hospitals, are re-scheduled. Meaning that they run out of medications, they miss their appointments with their specialists, they miss their checkups for surgical assessments, etc. Re-scheduling them becomes even more difficult, because, the public hospital outpatients list is already over-filled. What with public service doctors going on leave, going to Putrajaya for meetings, specialist accompanying VIPs for overseas trips, etc. So the 3 months waiting now now becomes 6 months of even longer.

As for inpatients admitted, awaiting surgery in the ward ( and they may be awaiting cancer surgery ) or other life-saving angioplasty or cardiac surgery, cancer patients awaiting chemotherapy, etc, they will get discharged and re-scheduled. Some of them do die, while waiting. Of course emergency surgeries still go on. But should we not treat them before they become an emergency case?

I am writing to highlight to the public and the government that public holidays, under whatever guise, has a medical cost, and that should not be forgotten. It is good when the country wins a sporting event, but should that cause a patient to suffer and maybe die?


Superwomanwannabe said...

Did you ever get a reply?

Kimberly said...

Well, it would not be the first time that a government does that. The same happened in Argentina the days of the soccer matches of the World Cup. Almost nobody worked. I had a Buenos Aires rent and the only one working was my dorrman, the rest were watching the game. It was kind of nice to see a whole country united by sports and not working to see the game!