What Malaysia Day Is All About!

Often confused with Hari Merdeka, Malaysia Day is celebrated on the 16th of September every year, but, what is it all actually about? 

On this day, 57 years ago in 1963, the establishment of the Malaysian Federation took place which marked the merging of Malaya, North Borneo (now known as Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore.

The 16th of September was a historic event for Malaysia as it marked a new era, to build a new country and develop from the independence gained just a few years prior in 1957.

what malaysia day is all about!Photo via Malay Mail (via Reuters)

It is a bit strange to have two separate National Days, but the joining of East Malaysia into the fold is worth remembering and celebrating!

According to the Malay Mail, Singapore, North Borneo, and Sarawak - or 10 million people in all - decided to come together with the Malayan Federation to form the country that we all know and love now! 

Meanwhile, Brunei decided against being part of Malaysia. 

The Malaysia Bill was then introduced in the Malayan Parliament on 9 July 1963 and consented by the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Putra on 29 August of the same year.

The declaration of the formation of Malaysia was postponed a couple times due to administrative issues, but eventually announced on 16 September 1963 which formed a new nation that we now call Malaysia! 

what malaysia day is all about!Photo via Malay Mail (via Reuters)

Singapore then seceded from the Federation of Malaysia two years later in 1965 due to political, financial, and economic disagreements between the Singapore-state leaders and the federal government. 

Malaysia Day had initially been planned for 31 August 1963 but was forced to be postponed to 16 September to give the United Nations (UN) mission time to determine and complete a report on whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wanted to be a part of Malaysia.

Malaysia finally notified the United Nations on 16 September of its formation and provided the new national flag for it to be flown together with the flags of the 110 other countries. 

what malaysia day is all about!Photo via Malay Mail (via Reuters)

The first Hari Malaysia celebration took place throughout the country in capital cities and major towns. In Kuala Lumpur, “Bapa Malaysia” Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj handed over the Malaysian flag to his son, Capt. Tunku Ahmad Nerang who was in the Royal Malay Regiment - to raise during the 16 September ceremony at the Merdeka Stadium.

Meanwhile, Singapore held a week-long celebration, and even temporarily lifted a ban on fireworks and firecrackers during this period. Its Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew declared the island-state a part of the independent country of Malaysia and shouted “Merdeka” three times.

what malaysia day is all about!

what malaysia day is all about!Photo via Malay Mail (via Reuters)

We are indeed a lucky bunch to call ourselves Malaysians - with a multitude of rich cultures, the amazing food, and the many, many, many public holidays (like today!)

Here’s to more years of living the true blue Malaysian life! Happy Malaysia Day!

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat