Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, said that the September 16 national holiday is a long overdue rectification of national consciousness of Malaysia Day.
"Because of the PM's belated announcement, the five Pakatan Rakyat States have missed out on 2 years of opportunity to take the lead in fulfilling public expectations that they would declare September 16 as public holidays in their respective states, like Sabah and Sarawak.
"Further, it is only right that next year's Hari Kebangsaan be declared as 47th, and not 53rd and this 2009 year is also no longer 52nd Anniversary of Malaysia, but 46th."School books and government publications must similarly be corrected," Yong stressed.
MeanwhileSAPP vice president and Member of Parliament for Tawau, Datuk Chua Soon Bui welcomed the annoucement by the Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in the parliament that 16/9 will be made a Malaysia Day, a public holiday.
She said after a long wait of 46 years, the fact has eventually been made right to the Malaysian people with the known fact that the date is the formation of Malayisa, when Sabah, Sarawak and west malaysia joined to form Malaysia on 16/9/1963.
She said she has repeatedly urged the government to recognize 16/9 as a public holiday and she is happy to see that such appeal has eventually been recognized.
She said it is not the public holiday that is important but the significance to recognize the effort of our forefathers from Sabah and Sarawak who had sacrified and made significant contributions on the formation of Malaysia on 16/9/1963. This should be recorded down in history and known to all Malaysians.
This is a significant recognition which will foster greater national unity and integration between the East (Sabah and Sarawak) and the West so that the true spirit of 1 Malaysia concept will not just be a slogan.
She also hopes such recognization will be a way forward to further focus to correct on the differential treatment and socio-economic gap faced by the Malaysians in Sabah, among many of the issues encountered.
She hopes the government will look into why civil servants posted to Sabah are getting higher housing allowances and hardship allowances than their counterpart from Sabah who are posted to West Malaysia ? This has deterred some Sabah civil servants to be transferred to West Malaysia.
She also questions why a total of 568 students graduates (Education faculty) from UMS (university of Malaysia Sabah) majoring in different subjects are still waiting in the dark whereas their counterpart graduates from universities in West Malaysia have been interviewed and posted to government schools. This is a clear case of marginalization between the East and West Malaysia.
She hoped the government is sincere in walking its talk on the 1 malaysia concept.