KOTA KINABALU: Sabahans usher in a quiet Malaysia Day today amid renewed calls by the state’s politicians for Sept 16 to be made a national holiday.
The state government has postponed celebrations for the Yang Di-Pertuan Negri’s birthday, which falls on the same day, to Oct 24 as this year’s occasion is within the month of Ramadan.
However, today is a holiday for the state.
Gerakan marked the 46th year of Sabah joining the federation of Malaysia with a cyber countdown linking its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur with its offices in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu from 11pm yesterday.
Sabah Gerakan chairman Gordon Leong said the video conferencing was the first of its kind by the party, allowing its members here to interact with colleagues in Kuala Lumpur, including party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
“The objective is to promote national integration, in line with the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia concept,” he said.
The United Sabah Dusun Association held a similar countdown in a gathering at Padang Sepuloh in Tuaran.
PKR vice-president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan is reiterating his call for Malaysia Day to be recognised as a national holiday.
Parti Upko deputy president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing said it was sad there was no symbolic Government programme to mark Malaysia Day.
Both Sabah and Sarawak became partners in the newly formed federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 and many leaders across both sides of the political divide had been urging Kuala Lumpur to recognise Malaysia Day as a national holiday.
However, historians have been divided over the issue, with some saying that for all intents and purposes, Malaysia was formed on Aug 31, 1963 but this was delayed due to protests by neighbouring countries before finally being established on Sept 16.