Government proposes shortening Thingyan holiday

By HTUN KHAING | FRONTIER

YANGON — The Union government has sent a letter to ministries proposing to shorten this year’s Thingyan New Year holiday from 10 to five days.

Under the proposal, the five days taken from Thingyan would be added to holidays celebrated later in the year.

The letter, dated March 8, said the proposal was because of the impact Thingyan has on the country’s economy. This year’s Thingyan holiday is due to run from April 12 to April 21, meaning offices will be open for only 12 working days for the entire month.

The proposal suggests adding the five days lost to other celebrations held later this year, including Thadingyut, which falls on October 5, and Tazaungmon, which is on November 3 this year.

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In the letter, government employees have been asked to give feedback to a proposal that has understandably brought a mixed reaction.

Ko Myo Min Zaw, a computer and accessories trader in Muse, northern Shan State, said a shortened holiday would make it difficult for him to return to his home town in Ayeyarwady Region.

“I only get to go home once a year,” he said.  

However, government officials have argued that the slowdown in the economy during April could put off potential investors from abroad.

“Foreigners, especially investors, do not work during April because it is inconvenient for them,” said Dr Nay Zaw Aung, associate general secretary of the Myanmar Hoteliers Association.

In 2012, the previous government led by former president U Thein Sein rejected a proposal from MPs to shorten the Thingyan holiday. 

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