Malaysia has the seventh-highest number of public holidays in the world. Now, once again, COVID vaccine rollouts mean we can truly make the most of the holidays in 2021. And the good news is that a few of the public holidays fall near weekends. With some careful planning, you can maximise your downtime.
What are the Federal (national) public holidays in Malaysia?
Federal holidays are gazetted according to the Holidays Act and observed nationwide with a few exceptions. They are a mix of secular and religious holidays of the diverse groups in Malaysia.
|Date||Day||English Name||Malay Name||State Variances|
|12 & 13 February||Friday & Saturday||Chinese New Year||Tahun Baru Cina||One day in Kelantan and Terengganu but the second day is gazetted as a state holiday|
|1 May||Saturday||Labour Day|
|13 & 14 May||Thursday & Friday||Eid al-Fitr||Hari Raya Aidilfitri|
|26 May||Wednesday||Wesak Day||Hari Wesak|
|7 June||Monday||Agong’s Birthday||Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Agong|
|20 July||Tuesday||Eid al-Adha (1st day)||Hari Raya Haji||Two days in Kelantan and Terengganu|
|10 August||Tuesday||New Year’s Day (Arabic)||Awal Muharram|
|31 August||Tuesday||Independence Day||Hari Kebangsaan/Hari Merdeka|
|16 September||Thursday||Malaysia Day||Hari Malaysia|
|19 October||Tuesday||Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday||Hari Keputeraan Nabi Muhammad (Maulidur Rasul)|
|4 November||Thursday||Deepavali||Deepavali||Except for Sarawak|
|25 December||Saturday||Christmas Day||Hari Krismas|
State and territorial holidays in Malaysia
States may gazette public holidays to be observed in addition to the federal holidays. For the federal territories, the Prime Minister can designate territorial public holidays.
Federal Territory Day is celebrated in the territories, but in the states, this is replaced by the ruler or governor’s birthdays.
|1 January||Friday||New Year’s Day||All except JHR, KDH, KTN, PLS, TRG|
|14 January||Thursday||Birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Besar||NSN|
|28 January||Thursday||Thaipusam||JHR, KUL, NSN, PJY, PNG, PRK, SGR|
|1 February||Monday||Federal Territory Day||KUL, LBN, PJY|
|13 February||Saturday||Chinese New Year 2nd Day||Kelantan and Terengganu|
|4 March||Thursday||Anniversary of the coronation of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu|
|11 March||Thursday||Isra and Mi’raj||KDH, NSN, PLS, TRG|
|23 March||Tuesday||Birthday of the Sultan of Johor||Johor|
|2 April||Friday||Good Friday||Sabah, Sarawak|
|13 April||Tuesday||First Day of Ramadan||JHR, KDH, MLK|
|15 April||Thursday||Declaration of Malacca as Historic City||Malacca|
|26 April||Monday||Birthday of the Sultan of Terengganu||Terengganu|
|29 April||Thursday||Nuzul Al-Quran||KTN, KUL, LBN, PHG, PJY, PLS, PNG, PRK, SGR, TRG|
|22 May||Saturday||Pahang State Holiday||Pahang|
|30 May||Sunday||Harvest Festival||Labuan, Sabah|
|31 May||Monday||Harvest Festival 2nd Day||Labuan, Sabah|
|1 June||Tuesday||Gawai Dayak||Sarawak|
|2 June||Wednesday||Gawai Dayak 2nd Day||Sarawak|
|7 July||Wednesday||George Town World Heritage City Day||Penang|
|10 July||Saturday||Penang Governor’s Birthday||Penang|
|17 July||Saturday||Birthday of the Raja of Perlis||Perlis|
|22 July||Thursday||Sarawak Independence Day||Sarawak|
|30 July||Friday||Birthday of the Sultan of Pahang||Common local holiday – Pahang|
|13 September||Monday||Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Hol Day||Common local holiday – Johor|
|2 October||Saturday||Birthday of the Governor of Sabah||Common local holiday – Sabah|
|8 October||Friday||Birthday of the Governor of Malacca||Common local holiday – Malacca|
|9 October||Saturday||Birthday of the Governor of Sarawak||Common local holiday – Sarawak|
|5 November||Friday||Birthday of the Sultan of Perak||Common local holiday – Perak|
|11 November||Thursday||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan||Common local holiday – Kelantan|
|12 November||Friday||Birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan 2nd day||Common local holiday – Kelantan|
|11 December||Saturday||Birthday of the Sultan of Selangor||Common local holiday – Selangor|
|24 December||Friday||Christmas Eve||Sabah|
Employees Entitlement to Holidays
Section 60D of the Holidays Act entitles employees in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan to 11 gazetted public holidays. The Act states that these are paid holidays. Employers may elect six days in addition to these five compulsory ones;
- Independence Day,
- Agong’s Birthday,
- The Birthday of the Ruler, or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, or Federal Territory Day,
- Labour Day and
- Malaysia Day
Any additional declared public holidays are also paid holidays for employees (there are none for 2021 at this point). Except for item 3 above, employers are not obliged to observe state holidays.
In Sabah and Sarawak, employment is regulated by their respective Labour Ordinances. In Sabah, employees are entitled to 14 paid public holidays a year. This is 16 days in Sarawak, with four fixed holidays on National Day, Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Birthday, the State Governor’s Birthday and Labour Day.
If an employee has to work on a holiday for business reasons, they can be given another day off or paid double their ordinary wages. Overtime work on holidays must be paid at triple rates. Where it is specified in their contract, employees are entitled to a travelling allowance for working holidays (but no additional food or housing allowances).
What if a holiday falls over a weekend?
In states and territories with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, if a holiday falls on a Sunday it is deferred to the next working day. In Johor and Kedah, holidays falling on Fridays are replaced by Sunday or the next working day. And in Kelantan and Terengganu, holidays that fall on Saturday are deferred to Sunday or the next working day.
However, just like for the PCB, the EIS and SOCSO contributions can be done more efficiently with JustLogin!
Both EIS and SOCSO contributions are governed under SOCSO, they are the ones that enforce the regulations under the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969 and Employees’ Social Security (General) Regulations 1971.
Want to make leave planning and tracking a walk in the park?
The right balance between work and rest is essential for a productive workforce. But planning and tracking leave can take up so much time. With so many holidays and such differences between different states and territories, HR managers should consider tools to reduce their admin burden. Cloud-based systems leave tracking systems like JustLogin are the perfect solution.
Not only do they link into payroll and other management software, but they provide mobile functionality to employees. A few minutes on your phone, and you can have your 2021 holidays registered and approved.
Get started on cloud-based HR with JustLogin
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