Sabah declares Christmas eve holiday
Published on: Thursday, December 12, 2019
By: Ricardo Unto
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KOTA KINABALU: Christians in Sabah and others have more reason to cheer starting this Christmas with the State Government’s announcement that December 24 will, henceforth, also be a public holiday.

This makes the occasion a double joy with Sabah being the first State in the nation to do so and leading the way in inter-faith harmony and mutual respect. 

It also means that one of the most important days in the Christian calendar would now observe a two-day holiday, alongside Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year and Kaamatan (Harvest Festival).

The good news was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) during the Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration, Wednesday. 

He said the additional holiday would facilitate the preparations for the celebration.

“There will be a two-day holiday for Christmas starting this year on December 24 and 25,” he said, to thunderous applause by more than 5,000 people at the annual event.

He said the State Government wants to see those who celebrate Christmas spend more time with their family.

Shafie reiterated that he is a Chief Minister for all.

“Those who voted us as the government are not only Muslims, but also Christians and other religions.”

He also reminded the people to distance themselves from any divisive issue. “Such issues will not bring benefit to the State,” he said.

About a quarter of Sabah’s 3.5 million population are Christians, which make Christian religious celebrations such as Christmas and Easter huge affairs for its multi-racial and multi-religious society.

Until the late 1970s, Sabahans enjoyed extended Christmas breaks starting with a half day on Christmas Eve until Boxing Day on Dec 26 as well as on Easter.

However, the extra days were later cancelled by the then State Government, leaving only one day of holiday – on Christmas Day.


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