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Malaysia Day: Honest opinions

1st row from left; Syerrah, Marlin, Josephine. 2nd row from left; Nathania, Michael, Norma. 3rd row from left; Angeline, Satish, Kathirina.

16 Sept 2023


KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Day holds great significance as a national holiday that commemorates the formation of Malaysia, embodying the values of unity, diversity, and equal partnership among its diverse states and populations.

Observed annually on September 16, this day serves as an occasion to celebrate the nation's progress, foster cultural understanding, and fortify the principles of federalism and national unity.

It is essential to consider the various perspectives of discerning individuals from Sabah and other Malaysians as we reflect on Malaysia Day.

By doing so, areas for improvement can be looked into for a better future, both in terms of societal cohesion and governance.

This is what an individual who requested for anonymity has to say.

"Having witnessed the formation of Malaysia from the initial stage and later the eventual proclamation and Sabah achievements to the present day, I have more remorse than joy after what Sabah has gone through as a punching bag for political gain and dominance so much so Sabah was treated just like a nonautonomous state."

Politician and SAPP Deputy President as well as Treasurer Japiril Suhaimin said, "Malaysia Day is a significant national holiday that commemorates the formation of Malaysia and promotes unity among its diverse states and populations."

"It should be celebrated on a grand scale at all levels, including schools, villages, government offices, and private sectors. Malaysia Day is more relevant than National Day as it acknowledges the entire nation rather than just Malaya. However, there is a need to address the issue of uneven development between regions, with Sabah and Sarawak lagging behind. Fulfilling the promises of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is crucial to ensuring fairness and progress for all Malaysians."

Norma Apines, business woman and member of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) opines, "Sadly there's no equality between Sabah and West Malaysia. We have ample resources but we are poor To achieve future goals, it is crucial to improve infrastructure in Sabah, including roads, water supply, electricity, and ports. Direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Australia and neighbouring countries should be established. Upgrading rural schools is necessary, and the issue of illegal immigrants (PTI) should be promptly addressed for security and order."

Josephine Chin, a businesswoman said," To me, Malaysia Day seems to be celebrated more by West Malaysia. They should hold grand-scale celebrations in rotations. Like this year celebrate in Sabah, the next in Sarawak, and so on. There should be equality in all States within Malaysia such as the prices of goods including rice and also salary and benefits."

Anne Antah a prominent textile businesswomen dealing in unique traditional motifs says, "Malaysia Day should be celebrated with "Kembara Malaysia," where leaders travel across the country to witness the living conditions and progress of the people. They should engage with the public, listen to their grievances, and hold discussions at community halls ("balairaya"). This celebration should be grander than National Day, serving as an opportunity for the government to showcase the country's achievements and future plans. "

"After 60 years, development should include a well-connected transportation system, uninterrupted power supply even in remote areas, and clean water supply. The goal should be to reduce dependency on imported staple food supplies by promoting local production."

Normala Lim, a homemaker believes that Malaysia Day seems to be celebrated by a parade at the town padang.

"It's a historical Day to remember and significant developments have been achieved since then. Unfortunately, Sabah and Sarawak lag behind. For future achievements, it is crucial to prioritise giving a voice to Sabah and Sarawak for their needs to be heard."

Katherina Tati a retired Hotelier, author and daughter of a Policeman who served in the 1960s says, "We know that Malaysia Day is an opportunity to honour the unity that brought the country together. However, It's important to recognise the contributions of Sabah and Sarawak and consider grand celebrations in these regions."

"Fulfilling the promises made during the formation of Malaysia is essential, and it's crucial to address economic challenges and poverty, particularly in Sabah. By upholding commitments, promoting development, and fostering unity, Malaysia can work towards a prosperous future for all its citizens."

Stella Moluntang, retired Hotelier shares, "Malaysia Day should focus on acknowledging the achievements in comparison to other parts of the world. The celebration should involve meaningful outreach to citizens, moving beyond separate activities. It should be a collective celebration, with the government reaching out to the entire nation. It's important to rectify the lack of awareness about Malaysia Day by having community leaders organise celebrations and disseminate information at the grassroots level. This way, people will have the opportunity to understand and remember the significance of Malaysia Day."

"For me Malaysia Day is a celebration of our nation's unity and diversity, marking the formation of Malaysia. It should be commemorated through cultural events and educational activities that foster pride and unity among Malaysians. This celebration holds great importance as it brings Malaysians closer together while reminding us of our history," says Nathania Mikyle, a fresh graduate of a local university.

"Moving forward, Malaysia should strive for economic growth and improved living standards. Enhancing education and healthcare systems, as well as promoting sustainability and fairness within the country should be looked into. By focusing on these areas, we can work towards a brighter future for all Malaysians."

Malaysia Day, commemorating the formation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963, celebrates national unity and history, shares academician Satish Punnyamurthi, adding that Development goals for Malaysia should emphasise on economic growth, education, infrastructure, and social harmony. Future achievements should include sustainable development, technological advancements, and improved quality of life for all Malaysians.

"Malaysia Day should be celebrated through cultural events and educational activities to remind us of our history."

For Homemaker Marlin Janius, development that could be improved are in insfractructures, education, healthcare, economy, environment, and social welfare.

"Future achievements can be made by investing in innovation, technology, entrepreneurship, and human capital development, which will enhance Malaysia's competitiveness, productivity, and quality of life."

For Michael Liman president of Nabalu Tourism Association(NTA) Malaysia Day, although significant have to go beyond the celebration itself.

"First we must remember Malaysia was born and not liberated. There have to equality where development and revenue are concerned."

Another individual who requested anonymity states," I'm proud to be a Malaysian citizen, a free and independent country.

However, I'd like to share that one of the reasons the leaders of North Borneo (later Sabah) agreed to form Malaysia was to achieve socioeconomic development on par with Malaya. However, even after six decades, this goal remains unrealised. It is undeniable that the prevailing sentiment among Sabahans is that we have been on the losing side when it comes to the promises made under the MA63 Agreement. Moving forward, it is crucial to fulfill the terms of the agreement and address the issues of what has been taken away or neglected. This is the clear path towards progress and ensuring the well-being of Sabah and its people."

Angeline Boilis, who is attached to KDCA believes that Malaysia day should be celebrated as a historical event.

"Let's honour Malaysia Day while striving for better economic development, improved infrastructure, higher living standards, enhanced productivity, and quality public education, especially in rural areas. We should also address economic disparities between urban and rural regions, as well as income and wealth inequalities. Achieving these goals requires united efforts from leaders, policymakers, and all Malaysians, regardless of political affiliations, thus promoting a clean and effective government."

College student Syerrah Dean opines that Malaysia Day is a great day in history that should never be forgotten.

"We should share information on the historical value of Malaysia day to all."

Doreen Chin a retired Hotelier shares that while we celebrate Malaysia Day, the government should also look into future development to ensure the comfort of its citizens.

"This include hospitals with advanced equipment, skilled doctors and ample parking lots. They should improve road infrastructure with flyovers to ease traffic congestion. Senior citizens should be provided free benefits and monthly allowances."

Yvonne Chew, who operates a tourism institute shares that Malaysia Day is relevant although improved quality in basic utilities, road systems, education systems, healthcare facilities, communication, and agriculture economics are required.

" Additionally, it is important for individuals to possess a first-class mindset and attitude while remaining firmly rooted in the value of unity in Malaysia. This combination will pave the way for progress and development in the future."

Charles Sazo a businessman is of the opinion that the original intent of the Malaysian Federation did not include the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak under the governance of Malaya.

" If Sabah had been self-governed from the beginning, leveraging its abundant resources such as oil, timber, and oil palm, it is likely that we would have witnessed comprehensive development in all aspects in the State."

He feels that there is no valid reason to celebrate.

These opinions represent the voices of a few individuals who have come forward to express their views.

It is important to attentively listen to and respect the strong opinions of the people, rather than suppressing them.


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