I read with interest the article submitted by Z.A of Kuala Lumpur that was published in the New Straits Times’ Letter to the Editor column last 19 Sept. 2008.
The writer claim that the people of Sabah and Sarawak have never objected to 16 Sept. as a working day until a few politicians suggested otherwise. However, that is not true. The majority of the people of Sabah and Sarawak has always been asking for 16 Sept. to be made a national holiday. However, the leaders from Sabah and Sarawak has never brought the matter up with the Federal government. Maybe our leaders from Sabah and Sarawak did brought it up, they never mention about it to the rakyat.
The writer took the United States as an example where 4th July as their Independence Day, eventhough other states joined the already 13-states federation. In this context, we in Sabah and Sarawak should never be compared as such because Sabah and Sarawak DID NOT JOINED Malaysia. There has never been A MALAYSIA to join at that particular time. We actually ASSISTED the FORMATION of MALAYSIA together with Singapore and the Federation of Malaya, which saw the birth of a new entity called Malaysia on 16 September 1963.
Therefore, 16 Sept. should be commemorate as a national public holiday. We should also celebrate 31 August as Merdeka Day too commemorate the independence of Malaya from the British colony, just like India who have similar case like we do. India have two national public days – their Independence Day and their Republic Day.
On the issue of Malaysia having so many public holidays, there is no way to avoid it since we have more than 30 ethnic groups in Malaysia.
You may not feel it there in West Malaysia, but it means a lot to us in Sabah and Sarawak.
If there is any other territory who wish to join us in the future, then, the leaders of the future should make it happen on 16 Sept., or otherwise, we will be having another issue of a public national holiday.
Finally, you should be thankful to us and to our ancestors who have given their consent to form Malaysia. Otherwise, we could have enjoy the resources all on our own.