December 24, 2008

Holiday season but business as usual

I overheard a conversation among some Starbucks baristas once about how much they can make if they work during Eid as no one really wants to work on that day. It seems that they can make quite a lot if they work on these days. As I never work anywhere where my employer followed the prerequisite minimum salary to be paid to workers working on holidays (as my work stints were always part-time and with family friends), I was forced to accept whatever payment they paid me which ranged from RM10 per day (at a Satay restaurant) to RM300 per month, at a small legal firm in KL.

Only when I have graduated and actually had employees of my own and had a bit of understanding of the Malaysian Labour Law, did I came to know that there are certain holidays which are considered a bit 'special' than the other holidays peppering Malaysia work landscape. Eidul Fitri, Labour Day and New Year are a few of them in which Malaysian employer must pay at least a double (or is it a triple) of the employee's salary. I'm a bit hazy on labour law as I am not an industrial court practitioner, although the cases that I referred to my lawyer friends who does can sometimes help me a month bills. Its just that better for a lawyer to choose a field to specialise in than just take whatever cases one is referred to.

Christmas in Kuala Lumpur, its still about the tree

Anyway, this year, as the year of economic gloom of 2009 is upon us, I see a lot of shops in malls keeping themselves open to tap on the holiday sesons which are the norms the world over without showing any sign of the impending doom as harked on by newspapers. Malaysian government is not denying it anymore and the private sectors seem to show a braver front. The research houses and the watchdogs are more concerned than the real business owners. They say (whoever they are) the economic impact will only be felt after 8 months that the economic catasthrope happened in the market. Should everyone stop the party and the celebration or should those who really have the right to celebrate Christmas (the Christians) really celebrate it by reflecting on the true meaning of the religious festival?

Business as usual but who's buying?

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