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Malaysia Day Vs National Day

Info: 1902 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 25th Apr 2017 in History

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As we all know, national day was celebrated on 31st August of every year. In the meantime government introduced Malaysia Day on the year 2009. Beginning year 2010, September 16 was declared as federal public holiday. That made us to celebrate two public holidays for the sake of the nation which is the Independence Day and Malaysia Day. So, why this public holiday exist and why is it not celebrated together. Whatever the reason is, we are going to have an extra public holiday in our long expanding holiday list.

Until now, most of the Malaysians could not differentiate between Malaysia Day and National Day (Independence Day). So, what actually does these two days represent, what significant these two days bring to our country mainly to the people Malaysia?

The introduction of Malaysia Day seems as good news for East Malaysians at large since it was related much to them but their counterpart at West Malaysia seems confused.

So what these days hold for us really? Is these two days present same in meaning are differ in their own way? Or are we going to celebrate two national days every year?

We have gone through the facts supporting on both these days and have come to a conclusion or easy to say, we have our own opinion on these days that are been proclaimed important to our independence fight and the way we live now. As we read and understand these two days have two side of story to tell. It has both technical side and sentimental side. We are going to give our understanding on the technical side of the story.


Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) is a national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule, celebrated on August 31. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

So lets flip some papers on the national day. First, we must look back to the date of August 31, 1957 in which the independence of Malaya. We gained independence from British colonialism. Most of us do not know the law in terms of what actually happened. Actually, the date of August 31 is when we emerged as a nation after centuries of colonization.

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We exist as a country that has its own integrity in making decisions and then are accepted as a member of the United Nations (UN). In the present situation of a free country called the nation state or nation. Nation refers to a citizen or citizens and state refers to certain boundaries. We are not colonized by the British in fact and it might be a bit odd. They are present in this country to enter into an agreement with the king. King gave the rights to the British to take over the government. British officials serve as executive and non-governmental. But the ruler still remains the king.

Only when the Malayan Union was established the British tried to create a nation of Malaya. But the British view that the quickest way is to force the king and tried to use violence and deceit. But the Malays and some of the British completely opposed Malayan Union as inappropriate. So they came out with new ideas to create a Federation of Malaya. At that time the people’s sovereignty returned and from February 1, 1948 when the Federation of Malaya was set up to August 31, 1957 on the sovereignty of the people. When country obtained independence, the constitution made the king became a constitutional monarchy. First king of the absolute power and then we emerged as a nation that practices democracy.

Democracy means rule over the people by the people for the people. The sovereignty is now in people’s hand. Now when asked who ruled in fact it is the people. That is the origin this country.

So to obtain the independence a lot effort was put by our past leaders. Lets go trough little bit on how the independece was obtained from British Kingdom. The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan. Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. The first general election was held in 1955 . Parties such as PAS, the National Partyunder the leadership of Dato ‘Onn bin Jaafar, the Labour Party, Perak Progressive Party, the Alliance of UMNO-MCA-MIC and contest the general election tersebut.Party UMNO-MCA alliance won 51 seats-MIC of the 52 seats contested. 1 seat was won byPAS. With a victory in the elections, the government cabinet was formed. Tunku AbdulRahman became the first Chief Minister.

In 1956, the Commonwealth established a Constitutional Commission to draft aconstitution. Commission of the Commonwealth Constitution, better known as the Reid Commission, chaired by Lord Reid, the British made up of legal experts from the Commonwealth. Reports issued by the Reid Commission amended the Executive Committee and approved by the Federal Legislative Council.

However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons, it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur.

Since then we have evolved and emerged as a one of the fastest growing country in Asia. We have been regarded as a role model devolepment country for third world nations in the section of economy, education, administration and many more social agendas.

Malaysia Day

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia was then announced on September 16, 1963 as Malaysia Day. The nationwide Independence Day celebration is still held on August 31, the original independence date of Malaya, while Malaysia Day is a public holiday only in East Malaysia. However, this has caused some minor discontent among East Malaysians in particular since it has been argued that celebrating the national day on August 31 is too Malaya-centric.

The Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (later renamed Sabah),Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on the date August 31, 1963, on the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to September 16, 1963, mainly due to Indonesian and the Philippines’ opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Nevertheless, North Borneo and Singapore declared sovereignty on August 31, 1963. Indonesian opposition later escalated to a military conflict. Indonesia considered Malaysia as a new form of colonization on the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo (bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia), which they laid claim on. To assure Indonesia that Malaysia was not a form of neo-colonialism, a referendum, organized by the United Nations, and the Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cobbold, were formed to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wished to join Malaysia. Their eventual findings which indicated substantial support for Malaysia among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, cleared the way for the final proclamation of Malaysia.

Continuing on the above matter, Indonesia in particular is very upset with this matter. It maybe because Indonesia wants to control the entire island of Borneo. The Philippines is also not satisfied, if we refer back to the true history of Sabah is part of the Philippines. These two countries is totally rejected the establishment of Malaysia at that time, but Thailann have no problem about this.

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A matter of concern among the leaders at that time was how to make Malaysian people united. When they look at Indonesia where it would create a national ideology that unites its people. Then proposed that the country should have a national ideology, it finally give birth to the Five Pillars of the country. We called it as “Rukun Negara”.

The early independence era saw the culmination of “confrontation” with Indonesia because of the formation of Malaysia, Singapore’s resignation in 1965, and the riots in 1969. After the events of May 13, the New Economic Policy introduced by the Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, with the aim of increasing economic dominationby the natives (“indigenous people”, including the Malays and indigenous people andindigenous people should others) than other races. As such, Malaysia was forced tobear the balance of the complex ethnic politics, the system of government that tries tocombine overall economic development and economic policies that foster the participation of all communities equally.

Singapore withdraw from Federation of Malaysia after two years for the reasons of among the key factors is the dispute between the Alliance (UMNO and MCA) to the People’s Action Party (PAP) Lee Kuan Yew that led to racial tension.

Brunei in first place agreed to join in the federation but was armed fight by AM Azahari. He wanted Brunei to merge with Sabah and Sarawak under the name of north borneo. Most of the people of brunei agreed tough but finally withdraw from the federation in last minute by stating that their unsatisfied in 3 main areas. The areas are, The position of the Sultan of Brunei in the chamber of Malay Rulers,status of state of Brunei in Malaysia and oil royalties.

Since the formation of federation of Malaysia, our country have emerged from a agriculture based country to a industry based country and we are on the track to being the devoleped country.

So techincally speaking, The Federation of Malaya was formed on the 31st of August 1957.

The Federation of Malaysia was actually formed on the 16th of September 1963 (despite best efforts to have the formation of Malaysia on the 31st of August and therefore coincide with that of Malaya).


The date of the 31st of August is still important because it is the date when Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak achieved their independence from the British.

Unfortunately, but technically, MALAYSIA was officially born on the 16th of September 1963 and not the 31st of August. Prior to that it was not “Malaysia”, it was “Malaya”. Politically and geographically they are two different entities.

Even though this is a “technicality”, it is also a fact. Therefore the 2007 celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Malaysia’s independence is technically wrong. Simple statement of fact. Nothing controversial in technical terms.

To be technically correct the 31st of August should be celebrated as a commemorative day of “Independence from the British”, while the 16th of September should be celebrated as the National Day: the formation of Malaysia.

To be correct, 2007 should have been the 50th Anniversary of “Independence” for West Malaysia, and 2013 the 50th Anniversary of “Independence” for East Malaysia.

and 2013 should be the 50th Anniversary of the formation of Malaysia.


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