Sabah announces 2-day holiday for Christmas

Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal beating a gong to officiate the Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebrations.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal announced a two-day public holiday for Christmas.

He said he wanted Sabahans, especially the Christians, to spend quality time with their families.

He said the holidays will be on Dec 24 and 25.

“I know Sabahans enjoy Christmas. I know some of them have to drive back home this Christmas, some staying as far as Tongod or in far-flung areas.

“Some have to drive up to eight hours to be with their families this Christmas.

“So I want them to enjoy the Christmas better from this year,” he said in his speech at the Kota Kinabalu Christmas celebrations here today.

The state has been observing only Dec 25 as the Christmas public holiday all this while.

Before the 1970s, Sabah used to have two days as holidays — on Christmas and Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Shafie said the two-day Christmas holidays had been approved by the state Cabinet, which usually meets on Wednesdays.

Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia with the most Christians, after Sarawak. Around a quarter of its 3.9 million population is Christian.

“I am not the chief minister for only the Muslims, but also to the Christians. They too  voted for me in the 14th general election,” Shafie said.