Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Malaysia is 46 Years Old Today

On Page 199 and 200 of Tan Sri Herman J Luping's book, he wrote that Sabah's Independence through Malaysia was announced on Aug 31, 1963 and Tun Mohd Fuad Stephens was made the first Chief Minister. The declaration was made at the Town Padang (Now known as Padang Merdeka in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu). The ceremony was attended by Tun Abdul Razak (Deputy Prime Minister), Tun Datu Haji Mustapha Datu Harun (first Sabah's Yang Dipertua Negara now renamed Yang Dipertua Negeri) and other State leaders.


The report below appeared front page lead of the Borneo Post (Sabah edition on Sept 16, 2009)

We’re only 46 today
By Sandra Sokial & Mariah Doksil

TODAY, 46 years ago, a country was born.

It was a merger of four independent nations – North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya – forming the Federation of Malaysia.

Each nation gained its independence separately starting with Malaya on August 31, 1957; Sabah on the same date six years later, Sarawak on July 22, 1963 and Singapore on August 9, the same year.

But yet, despite its historical formation, Malaysia’s ‘birthday’ is left redundant. Many grew up with misconceptions that Malaysia was born when the two states – Sabah and Sarawak – joined the country.

“We formed the country. It is a merger. I have raised the matter that we are distorting history. We are not telling the history of Malaysia as it happened. It seems that we are giving the impression that Malaysia started on August 31, 1957,” said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Dompok, who has been very vocal on the issue, stressed that the level of the people’s awareness is mostly confined to Malaya’s history.

“The level of awareness among Malaysians in Peninsular Malaysia on the formation of Malaysia is lower than those in the East Malaysia, so much so they believe Malaya is Malaysia.

“We often hear some newscasters on national televisions saying ‘Malaysia, termasuk Sabah dan Sarawak’ (Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak) … why is this happening? Are the two states not included as part of Malaysia that they have to stress it out? Those terms should go,” he said.

The United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organisation (Upko) president said it is also sad that some of the country’s leaders are ignorant of this fact.

Once, Dompok recalled, someone likened the situation in the Malaysian history to that of the United States of America.

“We must understand that the four nations joined together to form a new federation which they all agreed to call Malaysia. As for independent nations like Hawaii, like any other nations after that, they joined USA, which did not involve any changes to the name … so there is a difference,” he explained.

He stressed that it is important for Malaysians to understand the facts and historical journey of their country.

Dompok’s views on the matter were seconded by his political rival, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

“I am sad that people are making the wrong interpretation of the dates. In fact, there is not much stressed on the country’s birthday compared to Malaya’s independence.

“When we formed Malaysia, we agreed to be partners in the country, as stated in the Malaysia Agreement. But today, the situation has changed. We are made as one of the 14 states in Malaysia … this is not what it was supposed to be,” he said.

Jeffrey also stressed that there was not much emphasis on Malaysia Day in any of the history books, adding that the younger generations are deprived of the historical moment where the country was born.

“They may have just a few sentences on it. The rest are Malaya’s independence … why did they push aside such important information from the people?” asked Jeffrey.

Both senior politicians also agreed on a common point – a time will come when the truth itself will prevail.

“I am optimistic about this and I believe the people will know what actually happened back then in 1963. I believe one day September 16 will be recognised as an important date for the country.

“It is my hope that historians will do a comprehensive research on this. A nation can’t have two birthdays,” stressed Dompok.

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