THE Sabah Day will be celebrated statewide starting next year once it is formally gazetted by the Sabah cabinet.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the Sabah Day which falls on 31 August is an important date for Sabah and all Sabahans as it is the day that Sabah became an independent nation.
“We should be proud because we have our own identity, our own birth date. It is crucial for us. Because of this, we could more forward and work together to make Malaysia the federation we had hoped it to be,” he said in his speech at the Sabah Day celebration here today.
Earlier in a pre-recorded video, Kitingan reiterated that Malaysia Day, which falls on September 16, is the most appropriate day for a nationwide celebration because it commemorates the formation of Malaysia.
“Fifty-nine years ago today, three regions; Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya founded the federation. That is the most important date for the federation.
“The National Day that falls today is defined by the Federal Constitution as the commemoration of Malaya’s Independence Day.
“It has nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak, and so should only be celebrated in Malaya as THEIR Independence Day,” he insisted.
Instead of commemorating Malaya’s National Day on 31 August, the Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) President suggested that Sabahans mark the day as Sabah’s Independence Day.
He said historical archives demonstrated that on 8 August 1963, the North Borneo Legislative Assembly unanimously resolved to announce Sabah’s independence on 31 August 1963, regardless of whether Malaysia became a reality on that day or not.
“The independence of Sabah was the main prerequisite for the formation of Malaysia. This is a well-established truth.
“Sabah was a British Crown colony until 16 September 1963 when it became a sovereign State under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“On that day, when both flags were flown together for the first time, the national anthem and the Sabah anthem were played and there is a line in our anthem that says we are an independent state,” he said.
Kitingan said the yearning for independence was the primary motivator for Sabahans to support the formation of Malaysia.
Thus, Malaysia Day, which falls on 16 September, should be the National Day of Malaysia, rather than 31 August which is Malaya’s and Sabah’s Independence Day.
“On 31 August, we commemorate Sabah Day. It has nothing to do with Malaya’s celebration. It is not Malaysian Independence Day. Our people have been brainwashed to believe it is, through education, songs like Saya Anak Malaysia and others means.
“Yes, the 31 August is sacred to both Malaya and Sabah. However, it is not sacrosanct to the entire federation. The most sacred day for all Malaysians is 16 September. And it is now time to declare that day, 16 September, as Malaysia National Day.
“To all Sabahans, Happy Sabah Day,” he said.
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