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Thaipusam won't be a public holiday, says DPM Tharman

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made this clear in a written answer to Parliament.

Thaipusam won't be a public holiday, says DPM Tharman

A Hindu devotee has his skin pierced with metal prongs before taking part in a traditional ceremony during the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Singapore. (AFP File Photo/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: There are no plans to gazette Thaipusam as a public holiday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam made this clear in a written answer to Parliament.

He explained that there are currently 11 public holidays in Singapore.

The days were chosen in consultation with the major religious groups and "represent a careful balancing of the interests amongst the various groups in our society".

"In the past there have been requests to deem other significant days or festivals observed by various groups of Singaporeans as public holidays, such as Lao-Tzu's Birthday for the Taoists, Thaipusam and the Hindu New Year for the Hindus and Women's Day."

He added that there is a long-accepted, common understanding with regards to the number and configuration of public holidays and that "it would be sensible to maintain this".

Mr Tharman said an increase in the number of public holidays would raise business costs and affect Singapore's economic competitiveness.

"This was a major consideration when the current 11 public holidays were first decided on, and remains relevant today," said Mr Tharman.

Source: CNA/de

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