Sunday, 5 January 2014

Which day is your weekend?

Yes, it has been too long since the last post. Indeed, the thought of ceasing to blog has crossed my mind... sometimes other stuff take too much of your time; at other times the interest just isn't there. But then, you inadvertently come across some pearls of wisdom from other writers which makes you realise that more often than not, you are only making things hard for yourself.

`Only he who gives up is defeated. Everyone else is victorious.'

Which made me think that it is time to get off my butt and start writing again. It is now already 2014... and that means I'm almost entering the 7th year of this blogging experience.

To start off this new year, I'll touch on a subject that can be a sensitive issue to some.

Today is the first Sunday of 2014 AD. For civil servants in the state of Johor, that means it is a working day. The state government has switched the weekend back to Friday, which was what it originally used to be back in 1994 and earlier. This change of weekend also applies to schools.

The other states in Malaysia that already have Friday as its weekend are Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu. To understand why these states have a different weekend to that of other states and also the federal government, we have to go back in history... which I do not wish to delve into here. Just that is has something to do with the status of Unfederated Malays States during the time of British colonial rule.

Anyway, what many people outside of Johor fail to realise is that the weekend implementation system here is not exactly the same as that practiced in the other three states. It is this slight difference which makes it a problem for many local residents. Allow me to elaborate...

In Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu, the Friday off-day applies across the board, i.e. to both public and private sectors. In other words, generally everybody has a rest day on Friday, whether you are a government servant, a student or a bank officer. In Johor, there exists this peculiarity of the Friday off-day being applicable only to the civil service and government schools. The banks, lawyers, private doctors and nearly all other private sector services still have their weekend on a Sunday. This was the case even during the pre-1994 era. And therein lies the double-edged sword; if you work in the private sector, you are able to carry out any government related matters on a Sunday, thereby saving you the need to take a day off from work. Similarly, if you are a civil servant, you can take advantage of the Friday to go to the bank or send your car for servicing at the workshop.

But here's the cruncher... let's say you work with the government while your spouse works in the private sector. Or perhaps this more common scenario of you working in the private sector but still have school-going children? There goes your common weekend. Bummer...

The Johor Menteri Besar's office in Nusajaya