Friday, 18 June 2010

It's official: Public holiday on George Town heritage day

So finally, the Penang State Secretariat has seen it fit to inform various parties in the state about 7 July 2010 being an official Penang state public holiday. 

This matter had been dithering on for quite without the government making any official announcement. Last month, I was constantly poking a friend in the state machinery to make clear the government's stand on this holiday. Has the holiday even been gazetted and announced? He replied that the government departments and schools in the state would be observing this holiday but I told him that it wasn't enough. It just wasn't good enough.

It's not that I want another holiday. As I'm now retired, it makes utterly no difference to me whether or not the seventh of July of every year would be a public holiday but the state has to take into account more than the public servants and the school students.

Where is the pride in George Town being accorded UNESCO world cultural heritage status when the state does no follow-up on their initial pronouncement on celebrating this listing? Don't they want the general public to join in as well? Why confine the holiday to only schools and government offices? If they want the business community to acknowledge our UNESCO status and have the option to celebrate the occasion, they must let them know officially. It's not at the spur of the moment that businesses in Penang can declare a holiday for their staff. Even giving them a one-month notice such as this may not be enough. However, I'm satisfied that at least, this official announcement has now been made and the business sector can plan to embrace it, maybe not this year but in later years.

But how I wish that the Penang government can make a more constant effort to promote the UNESCO status. Heritage has already come under the Chief Minister's Office but I just fear that the engine to proceed full steam with heritage programmes in the state (not just the City) may still require more than a kick-start.

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