Declare Sept 16 as National Day

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: The federal government should declare Sept 16 as the country’s National Day.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing said this was the date when Malaysia was born instead of Aug 31, which was Malaya’s Independence Day.

He concurred with Malaysia Dynamic Community Association chairman Paul Fong that it was more logical to commemorate Sept 16 as the country’s National Day.

“Sept 16 should be declared as National Day as it was the day when Malaysia, as a nation, was born. Therefore, it is the National Day for Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.

“It should be celebrated in turn by the three regions in Malaysia. The date Aug 31, 1957 has nothing to do with Sarawak and Sabah, because Malaysia didn’t even exist at that time,” he said yesterday (Sept 19).

Masing said Aug 31 could still be celebrated by both the East Malaysian states if invited by Malaya but only in the capacity as a friend which attends another’s birthday.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) chief also called on the Education Ministry to rectify the incorrect facts surrounding Aug 31, 1957 in the history books and education syllabus.

“Students were led to believe Aug 31, 1957 as Malaysia Day, including my own children who used to sing the late Sudirman’s song on the date with gusto.

“It is a wrong historical fact. Let the Education Ministry correct this in Malaysia’s history book and its school syllabus. The sooner the better, only then we will have better understanding of each other,” he said.

Recently, in his address at a Malaysia Day virtual celebration organised by World Humanitarian Drive (WHD), Malaysian chapter, Fong urged the government to consider the significance of Sept 16, declaring it as National Day.

“Malaysia Day falls on September 16, the day when a ‘complete’ Malaysia, comprising Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya was formed.

“As such, it is the country’s birth date and should be recognised as Malaysia’s national day, and not any other date, when the latter two states had not joined. It is like one’s birthday and people celebrate birthdays once a year,” Fong said.