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Govt declares DAYOFF onMay 9 It’sa holiday

Political parties hungry to makeapoint

NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Naren- dra Modi ( pix ) will lead a day- long fast today in a protest against the Op- position, whose leaders were caught feasting moments before they launched their own hunger strike.

P ETALING JAYA: The caretaker government yesterday declared May 9 a national public holiday. The decision follows mass public criticism of the midweek polling date announced on Tuesday, with a petition sent to theYang di-PertuanAgong Sultan Muhammad V to declare a public holiday. “This is to enableMalaysians to

fulfil their responsibilityas voters,” thePrimeMinister’sOffice (PMO) said in a statement yesterday. It said the public holiday is in accordance with Section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951 for Peninsular Malaysia and theFederalTerritory of Labuan.

“As for Sabah and Sarawak, the respective state governments have to declare the public holiday in accordance to their PublicHoliday Ordinance.” Evenbefore the announcement, several companies had said they would be giving their staff the day

off on May 9 to enable them to travel to their hometowns to vote. Ma l a y s i a n Emp l o y e r s Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan lauded the government’s TURN TO PAGE 03 X

The rival protests are part of a growing showdownbetweenModi’s ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its arch-rival Con- gress party, ahead of a looming national election. Congress organised a five-hour hunger strike on Monday in a pre- emptive move against the planned BJP fast today. But the party was left red-faced after photos of senior leaders tuck- ing into chickpea curry served with a savoury dough circulated on social media right before the fast. BJP called their move a “joke” and reportedly issued strict rules to its lawmakers, including a ban on eating at public places or being photographed munching on treats before fasting. It is also shooing away street food vendors from the protest venue in New Delhi, according to the Mail Today. Congress called the BJP’s plans “a farce of a fast”. – AFP

BERNAMAPIX

CUSTOMISEDPLEDGE ... Sharifah Zaleha Syed Jamaludin shows the BarisanNasional special manifesto for youths on her smartphone at the Umno office yesterday in Kuantan, Pahang. The manifestowas launched on Tuesday.

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