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Singapore

Manpower Minister responds to calls for public holiday for Schooling's win

Singapore celebrated Joseph Schooling’s victory with a victory parade, a Parliamentary motion congratulating him on his victory, as well as a mention by the Prime Minister at the recent National Day Rally, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.

Manpower Minister responds to calls for public holiday for Schooling's win

Joseph Schooling's gold in Rio de Janeiro was Singapore's first at the Olympic Games. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Singapore celebrated Joseph Schooling’s victory as a nation, not by having a one-off public holiday, but by highlighting the significance of country’s first Olympic gold with a victory parade, a Parliamentary motion congratulating him on his victory, as well as a mention by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the recent National Day Rally, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Tuesday (Sep 13).

"We believe these are appropriate and meaningful ways of celebrating a great achievement that has captured the imagination of the public, inspired our nation and instilled immense pride in all Singaporeans," said Mr Lim.

He added that it was a “defining moment” in Singapore’s history that has created a new mindset in all Singaporeans, enabling them to believe that nothing is impossible.

Mr Lim made his comments in a written reply to a parliamentary question on whether the Government would consider declaring a special one-off public holiday to celebrate Singapore's first Olympic gold medal.

The Manpower Minister noted that there are 11 days declared as public holidays under the Holidays Act in Singapore. These were chosen in close consultation with the major religious groups to commemorate various religious and cultural festivals as well as to celebrate New Year’s Day and National Day, he said.

The 11 public holidays are New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year (two days), Good Friday, Labour Day, Vesak Day, Hari Raya Puasa, National Day, Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali and Christmas Day.

Mr Lim added: “Under the Holidays Act, the President may declare a one-off public holiday in addition to the 11 days of public holidays. However, such one-off holidays are to be considered very carefully, as this has implications on public services, businesses and schools.”

To date, this has been done only once when the President declared Aug 7, 2015 as a public holiday in celebration of SG50, to commemorate a special milestone in the nation’s history.

“The Olympics and Paralympics are the pinnacle of international sporting competitions,” added Mr Lim. “While we celebrate Joseph Schooling’s achievement, we are proud of all our Team Singapore Olympians and Paralympians who represent Singapore, and with whom we celebrate the achievements.”

Source: CNA/xk

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