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Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datuk Sebastian Ting message on 62nd Merdeka Day

Today, the whole nation seems to be celebrating “62th Merdeka Day”.

For the majority of Sabahans and Sarawakians, this is true for Peninsula Malaya but not for Sabah and Sarawak.

Let us look at the facts and the brief history of the formation of Malaysia.

On the 31st August 1957, Malaya, as she was known then, obtained her independence from the United Kingdom and thus they have been celebrating 31st August each year as Malaya Independence Day.

For Sarawak and Sabah, 16th September is our Malaysia Day with the formation of Malaysia 1963, with the signing of Malaysia Agreement 1963, by Federated States of Malaya, United Kingdom, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. ( Singapore was separated in 1965. )

Malaysia is only 56 years young, from 1963 to 2019..

Thus 16th September, celebrated as Malaysia Day, is more significant and more meaningful for Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Most Malaysians do not know that Sabah and Sarawak DID NOT JOIN Malaysia but FORMED Malaysia, because our history books continue to teach our children that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, which is totally wrong. The Education Ministry must take up the courage to change these important facts in the school history books

However, for completeness, for Sarawak, Sarawakians celebrate 22nd July as on the 22nd July 1963, Sarawak had our first Chief Minister and full Cabinet Ministers and thus we consider Sarawak as De facto Independent on this day, as we had total administrative control.

Indeed, Sarawak Government had in 2016 gazetted 22nd July as a Public Holiday, being the Independence Day for Sarawak.

In view of the above, majority of the people in Sabah and Sarawak are of the opinion that 31st August is not 62th Merdeka Day for Malaysia. It is rather 62th Merdeka Day for Malaya.

They feel and are of the opinion that Sabah and Sarawak have nothing to do with the 31st August celebration.

We are nevertheless happy for our fellow Malaysians staying in Peninsula Malaya on their Independence Day today.

As a nation, we hope and pray for continuous Peace and Harmony in Malaysia and for all our people in Malaysia and in particular Sarawak, irrespective of race, religion and culture.

For True and Loyal Sarawakians, Sarawak interest must always come First

Best wishes and God Bless.


Datuk Sebastian Ting

Datuk Sebastian Ting

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