The time has come for the Malaysian Government to make Malaysia Day on September 16 a National Day in the genuine sense of the term for all Malaysians and not just in Sabah and Sarawak.
What is being done by the Federal Government to make Malaysia Day a National Day of solidarity for the reaffirmation of the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Malaysia at two levels – firstly, of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which have come together to make Malaysia their home and an “Instant Asia” and secondly, the union of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak into a new nation in South-east Asia in 1963 by smoothing out the knots and kinks of nationhood in the past five decades – in particular the legitimate grievances felt by Sarawakians and Sabahans about their neglect and underdevelopment in the past half century?
Malaysia Day last year was hijacked and desecrated by the UMNO-inspired “Red Shirts” rally when it should be an occasion for all Malaysians to strengthen national integration and counter the divisive and centrifugal forces seeking the division and disintegration of the nation.
Not only Malaysia Day, but Sabah and Sabah were virtually forgotten on Sept. 16 last year when national and international attention were riveted on the Red Shirt “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur.
More is expected of the Federal Government to give greater substance to the import and significance of Malaysia Day not only to the people of Sabah and Sarawak but also to the people in Peninsular Malaysia.
The three golds won by the Malaysian Paralympians, Mohamad Ridzuan, Muhammad Ziyad and Abdul Latif at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, three weeks after the four silvers and one bronze won in the Rio Olympics by badminton ace Lee Chong Wei, doubles Tan Wee Kiong-Goh V Shem and mixed doubles Goh Liu Ying-Chan Peng Soon, and the women’s 10m diving platform synchro Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong and cyclist Azizulhasni Awang have proved that Malaysians are capable of world-class achievements and not just be “jaguh kampong” in all fields of human endeavour – regardless of race, religion, region or politics.
The Malaysian Olympians and Paralympians should be an inspiration for all Malaysians.
Let Malaysians make 53rd Malaysia Day a memorable National Day not only for Sabahans and Sarawakians in terms of meaningful steps to restore genuine autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak, but to unite all Malaysians for a common national cause of greatness for Malaysia.
There can be no better start in this process to reunify all Malaysians for a common national cause of greatness for Malaysia than for the release of Malaysian patriot and leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from imprisonment.
For this reason, I call for Anwar Ibrahim to be given the royal pardon and freed from Sungai Buloh prison on Malaysia Day as a first step to make Malaysia Day a National Day for all Malaysians and not just in Sabah and Sarawak.