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Give precedence to Sept 16, group urges government

13th June, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: The date Sept 16 should have precedence over Aug 31 as a day of remembrance for the formation of Malaysia and should be celebrated nationwide.

This is because Sept 16 marks Malaysia Day, whilst Aug 31 is the independence day of the Federated Malay States, i.e. Malaya.

A group of Sabahans calling themselves the Sabahan MRSM (Maktab Rendah Sains Malaysia) Pioneers have called on the Federal government to accord the due recognition and prominence on Sept 16, instead of Merdeka Day on Aug 31.

In a statement yesterday, they described the significance given by the previous Federal government to Aug 31 instead of Sept 16 a ‘blatant violation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963’.

They pointed out that the MA63 is an International Treaty for the establishment of Malaysia that was signed on 7th July 1963 and further amended in Singapore on 28th August 1963 by the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore. The agreement pointed out the one and only true date of significance to the formation of Malaysia, which was known or defined as MALAYSIA DAY, was 16th September 1963.

“The significance of Malaysia Day on the 16th of September unfortunately had all been lost and forgotten during the initial efforts of nation building. The previous administrations deemed that Merdeka Day was more important than Malaysia Day.

“This is the blatant violation of the MA63 that we would like to have corrected by both the newly elected Governments at the Federal and state level.”

They acknowledged the significance of “Merdeka Day” to their Malayan counterparts.

“We therefore do not question our Malayan counterparts’ enthusiasms and rights to continue in celebrating such day. We offer our utmost support and convey our heartiest congratulations to all of them for the “Merdeka Day”. They wanted the provisions in MA63 to be recognized and the omission in the Federal Constitution be rectified.

“We are confident that the newly elected PH Federal government and the Warisan-led State government would be willing to correct the gross injustice done as mentioned in Para 9 above. We need to mend our history to the path as written under the MA63 once and for all,” they added.

They proposed that while Malayans in Sabah and Sarawak are free to celebrate Merdeka Day on 31st August, Merdeka Day must however be confined to Malaya’s independence only. There should not be any mentions of “Malaysia Merdeka” at all on 31st August.

They insisted that Malaysia Day to be celebrated nationwide on September 16. “Malaysia Day must be accorded more importance over Merdeka day from now onwards. It must be based on the 1963 year baseline and not on any other baseline year”

“We humbly call upon the current PH government and the Warisan-led Sabah government to take this golden opportunity in denouncing the mistakes of the previous administrations by declaring Malaysia Day 16th September, as the one and only true date for unifying Malaysia.

“This gesture will signify equal treatment being accorded to both Sabah and Sarawak under the MA63. It will also be seen as a marked deviation from the past actions of ‘Malayanising’ or ‘colonising’ Sabah and Sarawak. “It will also be seen that some of the demands emanating from the Sabah for Sabahan outreach for equal treatment would once and for all be realised,” they stressed.

They also urged the Education Ministries at the Federal and Sabah State level to introduce a completely unbiased new chapter on the formation of Malaysia in the school curriculum.

The Sabahan MRSM Pioneers is an apolitical group of 14 Sabahans in various profesions. They were among the earliest Yayasan Sabah-sponsored students to further their studies at the MRSM in Negeri Sembilan in 1972.

Its members consist of Abdul Kadir Damsal, Ali Siddik Ampon, Badrul Hisam Kumut, Blasius Gilbert Guntingan, Dalahan Buduk, Datu Omar Ali Datu Bachtiar, Harry Kuzukuk Manisit, Kassim Sulaiman, Kennedy Aralas Kua, Mius Kassim, Mohd Bahar Kahar, Nordin Wan Ibrahim, Rahim Sulaiman, Yusrin Yusuf, and Zulkifli Sulaiman (deceased).

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