PUTRAJAYA: The government on Monday (Nov 14) declared Nov 18 and 19 as public holidays to enable electors to exercise their right to vote in the 15th general election (GE15).
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, announcing this on Monday, said Nov 19 was also declared a public holiday as there may be some companies from the private sector, especially factories, that will be operating on that day, making it difficult for their employees to cast their vote.
“The right to vote is a right guaranteed by the constitution and I don't want a single person to be prevented from voting," he said at the groundbreaking ceremony of Wisma Cuepacs (Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services) today.
Also present were Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali and Cuepacs president Datuk Adnan Mat.
The Election Commission (EC) has set Nov 19 as polling day while early voting is on Tuesday.
On Nov 7, Cuepacs had proposed to the government declare a special public holiday on Nov 18 to facilitate the movement of Malaysians to polling locations for GE15, and the next day, Ismail Sabri reportedly said the proposal would be considered.
Ismail Sabri said the government has also agreed that the November salary payment for civil servants be brought forward to Nov 17, while pensions will be paid on Nov 14.
“This is expected to ease the burden of civil servants planning to travel to fulfil their responsibilities as voters," he said.
Ismail Sabri also said that 30 highway concessionaires have agreed to offer free toll rates for two days in conjunction with GE15.
“The free toll will start from 12.01am on Friday until 11.59pm on Saturday, involving all private vehicles, with Class 1 (vehicles) alone estimated to be around 90 per cent of the total number of vehicles on the highways,” he said.
Ismail Sabri also gave an assurance that if the government under his leadership is given a new mandate after GE15, all announcements made at the 18th Civil Service Premier Gathering (MAPPA) and which were contained in Budget 2023 will be implemented.
They include an increase in the maximum amount of Cash Award in Lieu of Leave (GCR) accumulated from 150 days to 160 days and the early redemption of GCR up to a maximum of 90 days.
Others include an annual salary increment of RM100 (S$29.7) for civil servants from Grade 11 to 56, special financial assistance of RM700 to 1.3 million civil servants and RM350 for one million government pensioners as well as RM600 as special aid for Hari Raya Aidilfitri in March 2023.