By ABDUL AZIZ ISA
COMMENT: I urge the mainstream and alternative media, as well as Malaysians especially in Peninsular Malaysia to stop using the phrase “Celebrating 60th Malaysia Independence Day” for Thursday (August 31, 2017) as it is deemed to be misleading and false.
Since when was Malaysia ever colonized? Malaysia was never been colonized by the British. If anyone claimed that Malaysia gained independence on August 31, 1957, this question has to be put forward, where was Malaysia at that time? Who colonized Malaysia?
There was no Malaysia before September 16, 1963. It was on September 16, 1963 that all independent countries namely the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah) agreed to form the Federation of Malaysia. Singapore left this federation on August 9, 1965.
To make it clear, Malaysia was formed based on the 1962 Report of the Commission of Enquiry for North Borneo and Sarawak, famously known as Cobbold Commission, and Singapore’s 1962 Merger Referendum under the terms of Malaysia Agreement that was signed on July 9, 1963. It was not based on the Reid Commission.
This historical fact should be stated out clearly in our History books. If we do not emphasize this to our children in our schools, we will be blamed by them in the future for not telling them the truth. Why is it so hard to tell them the truth that Malaysia was formed on September 16, 1963 and not in August 1957?
Before the formation of Federation of Malaysia, these three entities had gained full and partial independence, albeit separately, from the British.
At that time, Malaya was just celebrating its sixth anniversary of independence from the British. Sarawak (until it was granted self-governance in July 22, 1963) and North Borneo were placed under Crown Colony in 1946 shortly after the dissolution of British Military Administration.
On the other hand, Singapore was granted self-governance on June 3, 1959. Where on earth was Malaysia at that time? It wasn’t even on the world map.
Therefore, the Barisan Nasional-led federal government should not continue taking this term for granted just to show that Umno is the true fighter for our independence. Umno can claim themselves to be the ‘true’ fighter who fought for Malaya independence but they should not claim themselves to be the fighter of Malaysia’s independence because Malaysia was never colonized.
The true fighters for the formation of Malaysia were the people itself. Umno should remember, without the consent of Sarawak, North Borneo, and Singapore, Malaya would remain small and poor as it was in 1957.
The government, especially the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia that controls all the national propaganda machineries and mainstream media should emphasize the significance of September 16, but sadly, these were done by the private sectors or individual groups.
We should give the people the awareness and educate them the importance of Malaysia Day. Just because most of the propaganda machineries and mainstream media are located in Peninsular Malaysia, it doesn’t mean that we can simply ignore the sensitivities of our brothers and sisters in East Malaysia?
As a nation, we should actually celebrate the formation of Malaysia on September 16 every year, not ‘Independence’ on August 31.
- Abdul Aziz Isa is Petra Jaya DAPSY Chief and Special Assistant to Chong Chieng Jen, Pakatan Harapan Vice-President