I am just amazed how Singaporeans are so involved in the recent news of the change of work week in Malaysia’s state, Johor. Firstly, this is not a new change, prior to 1994, Johor had similar arrangement of work week schedules. The future “roll back” it seems sparks a lot of debate on how it is affecting the state’s developing economy and its investors / businesses, for some gone to extend on matters of religion and discrimination. I must say that many failed to see at a different angle – Johor / Malaysia is Muslim majority and such moves should not have surprised any of them. They should be rather asking themselves how a moderate Muslim nation (comparing to more stricter Muslim nations in middle east) balance that change for the rest who goes for their prayers on Sunday such as the Christians who would have their Sunday church service. For business and investors, in my honest opinion, failing to adjust with changes to the surroundings with time would just mean you are not fit to be even doing business there or any other places for that matter – for it, i am throwing that question out of the window. Malaysia is not the only country which practices Sunday to Thursday work week, countries like Brunei, Israel, Bangladesh and Nepal have the same arrangements – see full list on Wiki here.
Why the change after almost a decade of Mondays to Fridays work week?
I don’t have official reference of “why” other than the Sultan receives feedback from various “quarters” that the change is needed so that Fridays prayers could be perform in a more peaceful manner. And by peaceful would mean that the fact it is a Muslim majority state, congestions and all that rush hour is minimized / avoided.
Another possible reason why that i could think of logically is also due to the change in time. Johor is still considered a developing state, where many of its landscapes are still shaping up, businesses thriving – such environment naturally creates the hectic schedules making people neglect their obligation to God. To be fair, in some Christian traditions, Sunday is the “Lord’s Day” and the day of rest and worship. You may argue at this point how discriminatory this change might be however bare in mind that Johor and Malaysia as a whole is still a Muslim majority country, they still have the Sultan (The King) and if you are forgetting about the Muslim from the rest of the world like myself who are living in Christian majority countries who still goes through Monday to Fridays work week where Sundays are off in favour to the “Lord’s Day” tradition. Just to be clear, i do not have an issue with Sundays off, as minority, i learned to integrate, adjust and adapt. I still manage to carry out my duty as a Muslim as much as i want to and have to.
It is the sovereignty of the Sultan to ensure balance in political and religious interest / progression in their state or country. If you dont understand what it means, i probably suggest you read up on the historical facts of Sultans where some Wikipedia reference might help you with the search of history books in the libraries.
– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultanate_of_Johor– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sunni_Muslim_dynasties
Such topics / issues are bound to raise sensitive remarks …
Debating over such topics may raise a lot of sensitive remarks / reactions. We all should just “leave it to just that”. In an idealistic world, “One Humanity” is an ideal form of practice / belief. Suck it up as we all know that life is never fair. To integrate and move forward, the leaders often calls for tolerance for each other, to understand each other and to find peaceful resolution – in this matter, i am more interested to know how the Malaysian leaders would deal with the rest whom are not Muslim.
I hope the leaders would come up with something fair, that would allow the Sunday church goers for instance to perform their worship as peacefully as the Muslim counterparts whom shall be privileged by the change of work week.
Question about how it is affecting the competitiveness of Johor …
Need i to mention that society leaders (not political leaders) around the world make changes and decision to defend the interest of their religious belief in good will that it will not deteriorate the morale and religious values of their people against modernization and economic progressions – Tibet of the Himalayas (Buddhist Monks) over China governance, Philippines government and the Catholic Church over issues such as conceptratives / abortions / population control, etc. Though the Sultan is not a direct religious figure, it is closely related to adat and religion, where decisions of the Sultan are based or influenced from Islamic laws / practice.
It will be no surprise that a good Sultan spares no exceptions to extend his practical influence or ideas to his people with good morale and religious values through various means and in this case, as obvious, Fridays off for prayers. And to answer that very question on competitiveness – yes things might change a little but obviously as what being demonstrated here, when matters of religion is involved, faith, belief and morality comes first over materlistic goals / intentions. I do not see countries operating on different work week failing or failed either – Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel, Bangladesh.
And to all Singaporean “keyboard warriors” …
Face the facts. If you are not living there, your opinions don’t carry much weight and go MYOB (MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS). If you have investment or businesses there, as i mentioned before, you deemed to go bust soon if you are not able to adjust with time and change according to time, minimizing your own losses or taking advantage of the change. And dear complaining Singaporeans, the world doesn’t evolve around you! Should be dealing with issues on our own backyard instead.
P/S: “Always treat people as ends in themselves, never as means to an end.” ― Immanuel Kant