Oct 19, 2009

Sept 16 as a national public holiday: A move to remember the formation of Malaysia

Sept 16 significant to the formation of Malaysia. The history tell us that how important is the date. Malaysia Day is held on September 16 every year to commemorate the establishment of Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. It marked the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia. The formation of the new federation was planned to occur on June 1, 1963 but was later postponed to August 31, 1963 in order to coincide with the sixth Hari Merdeka and then to 16 Sept due to several incidents.

Issues related to the Indonesian and the Filipino objection to the formation of Malaysia delayed the declaration to September 16 of the same year. The postponement was also done to allow the United Nations team time to conduct referendums in North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak regarding the two states participation in a new federation. September 16 is also Lee Kuan Yew's birthday. Lee Kuan Yew was the prime minister of Malaysian Singapore.

The formation of Malaysia was made possible through the introduction of the Malaysia Bill to the Malayan Parliament on July 9, 1963 and consent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on August 29, 1963. Prior to the formation of Malaysia, Singapore and North Borneo unilaterally declared independence from the United Kingdom on August 31 1963, thus coinciding with the sixth anniversary of the Malayan independence. Malaysia Day is not a public holiday. However, it is coincidental with Birthday of Yang di-Pertua of Sabah, making the day a public holiday in Sabah.

Finaly, thanks to PM Najib and his cabinet for recognising Sept 16 as Malaysia's national public holiday to remember the formation of Malaysia which is more meaningful to the Sabahan and Sarawakian especially. But it will be better if national day celebrated on Sept 16 each year, in fact, that should had happened long time ago.

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