National holiday on Sept 16
2009/10/20 as reported here
KUALA LUMPUR: It was a long time coming but Malaysia Day on Sept 16 will be a public holiday next year, an announcement hailed across the board in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s declaration to this effect in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday found consensus among Malaysians that it was timely and a natural consequence of the 1Malaysia concept.
The prime minister said it was high time Malaysians celebrated the formation of
Malaysia in a proper manner.
With this, Najib said, Malaysia would have two National Day celebrations
— Merdeka Day on Aug 31 when Malaya gained independence from the Uni ted
Kingdom in 1957 and Sept 16 when Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak became Malaysia in
1963. (Singapore also joined the federation but left in 1966.)
“The people of Sabah and Sarawak have been part of Malaysia since 1963, so it is only fair that they enjoy progress, education, economic and social development as in Semenanjung (the peninsula),” he said when replying to a question on the 1Malaysia concept.
Najib’s announcement elicited loud table-thumping from Barisan Nasional members of parliament.
A beaming Najib said the cabinet had decided to host two National Day celebrations annually with different themes according to the
He said Merdeka Day would continue to commemorate the struggle to win independence with official functions such as parades held around the country.
Malaysia Day, he said, would focus on unity, celebrate racial understanding, and
Malaysia’s achievement in sports and socio-cultural activities and the arts
which together constituted the 1Malaysia spirit.
There was great joy in Sabah and Sarawak with the prime minister ’s announcement as both states have been calling for enhanced Malaysia Day celebrations for a long time.
In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the
announcement would make the people of the state more determined in their
effort to strengthen unity and sense of belonging in Malaysia.
“It will be a catalyst to steer the development of the state and promote
prosperity among the people in line with the 1Malaysia concept.
This is also a significant gesture to the people of Sabah because we
have long practised what was aspired for in the prime minister’s
vision of 1Malaysia.”
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said the move augered well towards hastening the process of creating a cohesive nation built on
a multireligious, multiracial and multilingual platform.
“It is one of the best recipes to create a sense of 1Malaysia as propounded
by the prime minister.”
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, describing the announcement as “a long-overdue recognition”,
said the decision would go a long way towards bringing the people together.
“The announcement is also a significant contribution to the prime minister’s passion for a 1Malaysia where Malaysians from all walks of life, ethnic or geographical origin and religious beliefs can feel that they have a place
under the Malaysian sun.”
Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said the decision had helped resolve a key issue in the effort to promote patriotism and love for the country among Malaysians.
“This will further strengthen the sense of belonging among citizens
from different backgrounds. As for us in the PBS and as a partner
in the Barisan Nasional coalition, it will help us further work towards
building a better nation.”
Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk Liew Vui Keong said Najib’s announcement represented a deeply-appreciated recognition of both Sabah and Sarawak.
“It has become an intense topic of debate in our living memory since the formation of Malaysia. It reflects the seriousness of the prime minister’s sincerity in fostering a harmonious relationship
among us all.”
In Ku c h i n g , Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Datuk Seri Dr James Masing said it was most appropriate that Malaysia Day should be celebrated nationwide
with a public holiday.
“The prime minister has rightly declared Sept 16 a public holiday from next year. We should give more significance to the day by organising activities to recognise the formation of the Federation of M a l ay s i a . ”
Masing who is also the state Land Development Minister, said he had felt honoured when Najib spoke about the formation of Malaysia at the Malaysia Day gathering in the state capital last week.
Sarawak MPs attending the Dewan Rakyat were also thankful to the cabinet for making a decision that would further unite the people.
BN MP for Putatan Datuk Marcus Mojigoh said the people of Sarawak and Sabah were satisfied that the issue of Malaysia Day had finally been resolved.
“It has been raised many times in the past, and now that the prime minister has made his announcement, it is definitely a feel-good factor contributing to national unity.” Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister and BN MP for Miri
Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, said the new national public holiday sent home the point that the prime minister wanted a very strong 1Malaysia feeling among Malaysians.
Science, Technology and Innovation deputy minister and BN MP for Petrajaya Fadillah Yusof said Najib was “walking the talk” about the 1Malaysia concept with the decision.
“This proves he is listening to the people and that 1Malaysia is not just rhetoric. Making Malaysia Day a national holiday only re-enforces
the Federal Government’s view of the importance of the celebration
Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong) said the decision showed that the Federal Government was sensitive to the feelings and needs of the people of Sarawak and