The Jakarta Post
From next year, the rest days for Johor, peninsula Malaysia's southern state, will be Friday and Saturday instead of the present Saturday and Sunday.
The change affects all state government departments and agencies, but is optional for the private sector.
State ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar announced the much anticipated change during the investiture ceremony in this royal town on Saturday in conjunction with his 55th birthday.
In his speech at Dewan Jubli Intan Sultan Ibrahim, he said the change taking effect on January 1 followed feedback from various quarters and was to make it more convenient for Muslims to perform Friday prayers.
Now, Muslims had to rush for Friday prayers because of limited time, the Sultan said, adding that they would soon be able to bring along their sons with them to the mosque.
Also, Muslims would be able to perform the tahlil and other religious sessions with ease the night before, the sultan said.
Speculation on the change was rife after a state government document was leaked on the Internet.
The switch would mean reverting to the rest days that Johor had prior to 1994.
The states which now have Friday and Saturday as rest days are Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
Also present at the ceremony were the sultan's consort, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, Tunku Mahkota Johor Tuanku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, other royal family members, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and wife Noorainee Abdul Rahman and Malaysian Chinese Association president Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Johor state chief Mohamed Khaled Nordin said private companies had the option of maintaining or changing their rest days.
Responding to reporters after the ceremony, he said he did not think the change would have much impact on the economic development of the state because of the advancement in technology.