Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Merdeka and Malaysia Day
On Aug 31, we will be celebrating National Day. In conjunction with the celebration I like to share with you a speech made by Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, then Chief Minister in conjunction with the National Day at Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu, on Aug 31,1987.
Pairin said and I quote:
"The first time the national level celebration of National Day takes place outside Kuala Lumpur, it is held in Melaka where Father of Malaysia's independence, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj proclaimed the news of the impending independence of the then Federation of Malaya to the jubilant crowd of 100,000 in 1956.
One year after that on 31st August 1957, the Federation of Malaya became independent, a sovereign nation. Six years later on 16th September 1963, the people of Sabah (together with the people of Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya) formed and become apart of the larger political entity that is Malaysia.
I would like to stress on historical fact which has been obscured over the years, and that is we, the people of Sabah, were instrumental in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia - we were actors in the birth of this nation and were not simply acted upon.
I stressed this because very often we hear people talk unthinkingly about our admission into Malaysia, not caring to the reason that before we formed Malaysia, there was no Malaysia for us to be admitted into."
This was what Pairin, now a Deputy Chief Minister but remain the Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) of the Kadazandusun, said 20 years ago. These days it seldom that Pairin spoke on these issues.
As a Malaysian in Sabah I say it is a historical fact that the people of Sabah and Sarawak celebrate 44 years of Merdeka this year as against 50 years in the Peninsular States. Sept 16th is a Publilc Holiday in Sabah annually - to celebrate Malaysia Day and the official birthday of the Yang Dipertua Negeri.