Malaysian state declares extra holiday for Christmas

Light of truth

The Muslim chief minister of Sabah in Malaysia has ramped up the celebratory mood among Christians in the state by adding Dec. 24 or Christmas Eve as a new public holiday.

The neighbouring state of Sarawak is also thinking of declaring Christmas Eve a holiday, local reports said.

“The additional public holiday will enable those celebrating Christmas to return home earlier,” Sabha Cheif Minister MohdShafieApdal said when launching the five-day Kota Kinabalu Christmas Carnival in the state capital on Dec. 11.

The state is the first in Malaysia to add the Christian celebration to the list of two-day public holidays accorded to significant festivals in the country after Eid al-Fitr and Chinese New Year.

For many Christians in Malaysia, Christmas celebrations can be a minefield. Decades of Islamization and the steady rise of Islamic conservatism in the South-East Asian nation has led to anti-Christian rhetoric forcing restraint when observing such religious events.

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