Public Holiday in Malaysia

Public Holiday in Malaysia

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How many public holidays are there in Malaysia?

Recently, employers in Malaysia have expressed concern over the manner of announcing spontaneous public holidays on short notice. All these public holidays are listed in the First Schedule of the Holidays Act. The following are the ten specific public holidays stated in the schedule:

  • Chinese New Year (2 days)
  • Wesak Day
  • Hari Raya Aidilfitri (2 days)
  • Merdeka Day
  • Hari Raya Haji
  • Agong’s Birthday
  • Malaysia Day
  • Deepavali
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
  • Christmas Day

However, it should be noted that in Kelantan and Terengganu, Chinese New Year is only a one-day celebration as compared to all the other states where it takes up to two days. However, in Kelantan and Terengganu, Hari Raya Haji goes on for two days, while in most of the other states, it lasts for a single day.

State Holidays and National Holidays

Public holidays in Malaysia can be classified as the state or national ones. The above-listed official holidays are usually observed not only by the governmental structures but also by most commercial organizations.

While Malaysian states also observe state holidays as per section 9(1) of the Holiday’s Act, depending on their significance to the respective state.

Take for instance, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia and two other federal territories namely Putrajaya and Labuan celebrate together during the yearly Federal Territory Day held on February 1st. In addition, this celebration is required by Section 9(2) of The Holidays Act.

Malaysia

11 Days to be Observed. (Five days compulsory and six days elective)

The statutory public holidays that every employee is entitled to as provided for by Section 1 of the Holiday act (Section 8 of the Act and section 60D of the Employment Act) include the 11 gazetted ones and any day specified as a public holiday.

Employers are not required to observe state level holidays. If employers do not declare such state level holidays as paid holiday; hence, the employees must work as usual for the days.

However, there are several exceptions like Federal Territory Day that should be strictly observed within federal territories (KL, Putrajaya and Labuan). In other states, the Ruler’s Birthday, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, should be commemorated.

Section 60D requires the employer to give a list of 11 gazetted public holidays to which employees are entitled before the start of each calendar year, 5 of which must be:

  1. National Day
  2. Yang Di Pertuan Agong’s birthday
  3. The Birthday of the Ruler or The Yang-di Pertua Negeri or Federal Territory Day
  4. The Labour’s Day
  5. Malaysia Day

The remaining 6 days will be chosen by the employers to make it 11 days.

This provision empowers employers to designate whether employees should work on specific occasions such as Chinese New Year, Hari Aidilfitri, or Deepavali. It is important to highlight that employers are required to specify the 11 officially designated public holidays.

The Minister has the discretion to declare additional holidays

The Minister has the mandate of coming up with additional public holidays, as per Section 8 of the Holidays Act. The provision empowers the Minister to declare any day a Public Holiday in the Peninsular, Federal Territories, or certain States following consultation.

Surprise public holidays declared by the Malaysian government in 2021-2023:

  • April 21, 2023: Hari Raya Aidilfitri
  • November 28, 2022: Formation of unity government and appointment of Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister
  • December 3, 2021: KL team winning Malaysia Cup ( Wilayah Persekutuan only)

However, it’s important to mention that the Employment Act is applicable only to Peninsular Malaysia and West Malaysia whereas labour legislation in Sabah and in Sarawak prevails separately.

Public Holiday in Malaysia

Section 60 Employment Act

In accordance with Section 60 of the Employment Act, an employer can request an employee to work on a paid holiday, and the ordinary rate of pay on public holidays should be at least twice the ordinary rate of pay on working days. Public holidays, overtime pay rate shall never fall below 3X the rate of pay during working days.

Section 60D(3)(b) Employment Act

According to section 60D(3)(b) of the Employment Act 1955, where in working on a holiday, the employee is in law due for a travel allowance under his/her terms of employment contract, he/she should be paid for the travel allowance. Nevertheless, the employee is supposed to be allowed an increase in the rate on any housing or food allowance under this subsection.

For salary calculation & HR administration service contact Fastlane.

If the employer declines to grant the employee leave, they could face repercussions or penalties.

Malaysia’s Employment Act of 1955 requires employers to give employees leave off for all public holidays. Failure on their part to give leave attracts hefty fines amounting to about RM10,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Furthermore, employers could face other consequences such as drop in employee morale, loss of productivity, increased employee turnover and negative image as an employer.

Replacement Day

Some businesses may be planning this depending on the holiday. According to Section 60D (1 A) of the Employment Act, the employer can substitute any given holiday with any other day of his choosing as per Section 60 D (1 A).

List of Malaysia public holidays 2024

DateHolidayStates
1st Jan 2024New Year’s DayNational except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis& Terengganu
14th Jan 2024Yang Di-Pertuan Besar (YDPB) Negeri Sembilan’s BirthdayNegeri Sembilan
15th Jan 2024Yang Di-Pertuan Besar (YDPB) Negeri Sembilan’s BirthdayNegeri Sembilan
25th Jan 2024Thaipusam Johor, Kuala Lumpur,Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perak, Putrajaya & Selangor
1st Feb 2024Federal Territory DayKuala Lumpur, Labuan & Putrajaya
8th Feb 2024Israk and MikrajKedah, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis & Terengganu
10th Feb 2024Chinese New YearNational
11th Feb 2024Chinese New Year HolidayNational
12th Feb 2024Chinese New Year HolidayNational except Johor, Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu
4th March 2024Installation of Sultan TerengganuTerengganu
12th March 2024Awal RamadanJohor, Kedah & Melaka
23rd March 2024Sultan of Johor’s BirthdayJohor
28th March 2024Nuzul Al-QuranNational except Johor, Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah & Sarawak
29th March 2024Good FridaySabah & Sarawak
10th April 2024Hari Raya AidilfitriNational
11th April 2024Hari Raya Aidilfitri HolidayNational
15th April 2024Declaration of Melaka as a Historical CityMelaka
26th April 2024Sultan of Terengganu’s BirthdayTerengganu
1st May 2024Labour DayNational 
17th May 2024Raja Perlis’ BirthdayPerlis
22nd May 2024Hari Hol PahangPahang
22nd May 2024Vesak DayNational
30th May 2024Harvest FestivalLabuan & Sabah
31st May 2024Harvest Festival HolidayLabuan & Sabah
1st June 2024Hari GawaiSarawak
2nd June 2024Hari Gawai HolidaySarawak
3rd June 2024Hari Gawai HolidaySarawak
3rd June 2024Agong’s BirthdayNational
16th June 2024Sultan of Kedah’s BirthdayKedah
16th June 2024Arafat DayKedah & Terengganu
17th June 2024Hari Raya HajiNational
18th June 2024Hari Raya Haji HolidayKedah, Kelantan, Perlis & Terengganu
7th July 2024Georgetown World Heritage City DayPenang
7th July 2024Awal MuharramNational
8th July 2024Georgetown World Heritage City DayPenang
8th July 2024Awal MuharramNational
13th July 2024Penang Governor’s BirthdayPenang
22nd July 2024Sarawak DaySarawak
30th July 2024Sultan of Pahang’s BirthdayPahang
12th Aug 2024Hari Hol Almarhum Sultan IskandarJohor
24th Aug 2024Melaka Governor’s BirthdayMelaka
31st Aug 2024Merdeka Day/ Independence DayNational
1st Sept 2024Merdeka Day/ Independence DayJohor, Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu
16th Sept 2024Malaysia DayNational
16th Sept 2024Prophet Muhammad’s BirthdayNational
29th Sept 2024Sultan of Kelantan’s BirthdayKelantan
30th Sept 2024Sultan of Kelantan’s Birthday HolidayKelantan
5th Oct 2024Sabah Governor’s BirthdaySabah
12th Oct 2024Sarawak Governor’s BirthdaySarawak
31st Oct 2024DeepavaliNational except Sarawak
1st Nov 2024Sultan of Perak’s BirthdayPerak
11th Dec 2024Sultan of Selangor’s BirthdaySelangor
24th Dec 2024Christmas EveSabah
25th Dec 2024Christmas DayNational

Conclusion

There are 11 paid public holidays and employers usually select 6 out of 11 public holidays but ministers can declare additional special holidays from time to time.

On the contrary, employers are free to choose a different day to observe holidays which they may not be able to do on short notice. Where employers force the employees to serve on this minister’s announced holidays, they will have to be paid according to the public holiday rate.

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