KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) wants to gazette Sabah Day because it is a day when Sabah achieved independence and should be given the recognition as a co-founder of Malaysia.
STAR Deputy President Jalumin Bayogoh said STAR’s intention was never to dismiss Malaysia Day; rather, the party seeks to increase the significance of Malaysia Day as the National Day in the country.
“The party has received many responses from various parties on the gazzeting of Sabah Day. It is encouraging to note that, whether these comments are in support or opposition to the date we have proposed, they all share a common aspiration that Sabah be reconised as one of the co-founders of Malaysia and despite not agreeing on a date, we did achieve independence as a state.”
He said that the British Colonial administration gave Sabah Self-Government status on August 31, 1963 – a fact that was widely publicised in the printed media of the time.
“For 16 days, we had complete authority over the direction and the future of our nation. Imagine if our predecessors had chosen not to pursue the Malaysian route?
“With the installation of a de facto government on August 31, 1963, we had attained de facto independence.”
Jalumin went on to say that the uncertainty among the younger generations today, whether in Sabah or throughout Malaysia, stems from biases in the teaching and dissemination of historical facts that favour Malayan (now West Malaysia) history, particularly in school textbooks.
This is the reason, he said that there is an urgent need to to correct these erroneous understanding while the opportunity is still present.
Malaysia Day was declared a public holiday for the first time in 2010 but it was never accorded the due significance.
“The date September 16, 1963 signified the birth of a new nation. Malaysia was formed by the union of four territories (including Singapore at the time). Why is it not recognised as the real National Day?
“How can we or our children recognise themselves as Malaysians if we don’t or can’t even recognise the birth of our nation?”
“Sabah and Sarawak are not insignificant partners in Malaysia’s formation. We made Malaysia. We have just as much invested in Malaysia as the Federation of Malaya. None of the three territories that comprise the nation could claim Malaysia as its exclusive aspiration.”
As such, Jalumin urges Sabahans to support the state government’s demand to declare August 31 as Sabah Day.
“The concept of independence should begin at home, and we demand it. We must not allow ourselves to become enslaved by semantics,” he concluded.