Malaysia Day Joy

Sri Aman Celebrates Malaysia Day

The weather is on our side this morning as the Sri Aman folks geared up for Malaysia Day celebrations. Simple but meaningful, the Malaysia Day March on 16 September 2010 is organised at the Sri Aman District level by the Sri Aman District Office jointly with all the Members of Parliament and State Legislative members, government agencies, private sector and non governmental organisations from Sri Aman. As this is the first time Malaysia Day is gazetted as a holiday, 47 years after Sarawak formed Malaysia together with the States in Malaya, Singapore and Sabah, many Sri Amanians who witnessed the procession gave us a quizzical look but our waving of the Jalur Gemilang made them nod and wave, hopefully as a sign of acknowledgement of this special occasion.

Lest we forget, allow me to pick some excerpts of the Proclamation of Malaysia by the then Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Halim Shah on 16th September where he declared the birth of Malaysia....."a sovereign democratic State founded upon liberty and justice, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its peoples and to perpetuate peace among nations."

The proclamation was read by Sarawak's Chief Minister, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, at the Central Padang on 16th September 1963, "...and whereas by a Proclamation made under section 2 of the Malaysia Act, the 16th Day of September 1963 has been proclaimed, Malaysia Day, now therefore I, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, the Chief Minister of Sarawak do hereby proclaim that Sarawak has this day attained independence as a State of Malaysia".

Many Sarawakians like me are glad for the recognition given to the importance of Malaysia Day. There's no need for me to go deep into history here as it has been something that we have highlighted everytime the issue of date for Merdeka comes. My previous blog postings also had highlighted how one can be confused with the dates especially how old our country is . If the original date of proclamation had been set as planned which was on 31st August 1963, then the idea of Merdeka to be celebrated on 31st August every year would be less controversial. The insistence by our fellow West Malaysians who makes the decisions and control the media (including air time) to continuously jam the idea of 31st August down our throat never went well with most Sarawakians (and Sabahans I guess?). Not much activities or programs were planned including the sacrifices made by these two Borneoean States were highlighted. If there was a way, it would be also ideal to appreciate 16th September and how Sarawak and Sabah contributed to the making of Malaysia possible. The two weeks delay to the formation of Malaysia which has been scheduled for 31st August 1963 was due to the United Nation's Mission to consult Sarawak and Sabah on their commitment to the Malaysia idea. Those two crucial weeks where Sarawakians (with Indonesia wanting us to be part of them also) and Sabahans (similiarly claimed by the Phillipines) accepted the union with Malaya and Singapore and to proudly declare themselves Malaysians should be recognised. So when Dato' Seri Najib agreed to make 16th September a holiday to commemorate Malaysia Day more meaningful, I was glad that someone had the political will to do so. History with regards to the date would now be corrected and this is just a start. But 47 years is a long delay and I know many other Sarawakians may not be as tolerant as Nadai Nama Nama. For me I am glad that someone is willing to listen and its not about winning an argument, a battle or war. Its about being respected as equal partners in this country which we have embraced for 47 years. If they say its 53 years then they better make sure they give us that six years (in ringgits and sens and common sense) development funds, with arrears, to 'catch up' with them but that is another matter. This is because if we took a time machine and travel back in time to 53 years ago to Sarawak one would see the Union Jack flying here instead of the Jalur Gemilang. Our loyalty 53 years ago was also to the Queen of England and we sang 'God Save the Queen' not Negaraku. Which is why I beg for common sense sometimes, especially in the calculation of how old we actually are as a nation. I won't dwell on the 20 Points of 18 Points for that matter as these are best left to politicians. Nadai Nama Nama is very poor in that area which is why most of the political related comments posted in my comment boxes will never get past my blog moderation approval. But hey we got a Malaysia Day holiday which means our politicians are on the right track.

I won't wallow to much into our country's confusing history. Instead its good to look ahead since we have been given this opportunity. The television and radio programs has been talking all about it all day, something that Malaysia Day never got for the past 47 Days. Today I will be joining my other fellow Sarawakians in Sri Aman to create history and also be part of history in celebrating Malaysia Day. Though I feel that the celebration should be ideally held at the Padang Central in Kuching if Sarawak should host it (as Sabah is hosting this year's celebration), the decision for Sri Aman to organise this simple procession is significant as it was here that peace prevailed in Sarawak after a Peace Agreement (Sri Aman Declaration) was signed at Rumah Sri Aman here between the Government and communist insurgents on 21st October 1973.

The Sri Aman Malaysia Day procession started at the new Kementerian Pembangunan Sosial dan Urbanisasi (KPSU) Sports complex. The procession will be led by the Sri Aman Resident Office and the Member of Parliament for P.202 Sri Aman, Yang Berhormat Tuan Masir kujat, the Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri for N.25 Balai Ringin, Yang Berhormat Snowdon Donald Lawan and the Sri Aman Resident, Abang Shamshudin Abang Seruji.

Ready to march: Though the organisers had targeted for 47 contigents, more responded and todays procession will involve 55 contigents.

The procession was accompanied with the Kem Pakit band playing patriotic tunes as the 3 kilometres march to the KPSU Old Field started 

The Jalur Gemilang and the State flag bearers walked side by side as the sun rose in the early hours of the morning

Along the way a patriotic cyclist who decorated his bicycle with the mini Jalur Gemilang and the 1Malaysia symbol joined the procession

Walking ahead for Malaysia - from left (front row): Abang Shamshudin Abang Seruji, Yang Berhormat Tuan Masir Kujat, YB Encik Snowdon Lawan and Encik Abah Ugi.

The view of the procession from the overhead bridge across the Sri Aman Hospital and Police Headquarters

Uniformity: The Sri Aman Public Works Department Contigent spotted their latest corporate uniform

A former colleague 'Chief' Latif Suhaili who is now working with the Sri Aman Agriculture Department walks in front (top right)

One of the winners of the Corporate Uniforms category: Sri Aman District Council

The teams continued the march past in front of the VIPs who waited at the grandstand of the KPSU Old Field

VIPs witnessing the March Procession at the Grandstand (from left): Abang Shamshudin Abang Seruji, Yang Berhormat Dr. Johnical Rayong, Yang Berhormat Datuk Francis harden, Yang Berhormat Hajah Simoi Peri, Yang Berhormat Encik Snowdon Lawan, Yang Berhormat Hajah Rohani Abdul Karim, Yang Berhormat Encik Mong Dagang, Yang Berhormat Tuan Masir Kujat, Yang Berhormat Tuan William Nyallau, Encik Bujang Budin, Encik Majuan Jeraie, Encik Abah Ugi

The colourful uniforms of the contigents of the Sri Aman Malaysia Day procession

The Ketua Masyarakat Iban of Sri Aman and their stylish hat salute

The Sri Aman Ketua Masyarakat Cina contigent

Sarawak United People's Party Youth being led by Cr. Jimmy Chong

The Persatuan Guru Sekolah Rendah (Cina) Sri Aman and their unique 1Malaysia selendang fashion

Spirited members of the many Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung that participated in the procession

Pancaragam SKJC Chung Hua Simanggang provided the band for the Schools Contigent

At the end of the March Past the Contigents gathered at the KSPU Old Field and treated to patriotic songs before the speeches started

The highlight was the raising of the Jalur Gemilang and the State Flag, done with style.

At the end of the event: Yang Berhormat Datuk Hajah Rohani posing with the 1Malaysia Bicycle together with the other VIPs

Nadai Nama Nama poses with the Sri Aman Resident Office Contigent. I so love the 1Malaysia and Jalur Gemilang and proud to be part of this historic occassion

At the end of the event I remembered a 'Merdeka' advertisement which was about a small Indian boy who was brought by the father to witness the Merdeka Declaration while being seated on his father's shoulders. And so it was with the many Sri Amanians who was trying to figure out what the procession was about. I saw a small girl who kept waving at the contigents passing by as they waved back to her with their flags. That is why this Malaysia Day is special as we can now start telling our children on how we come to this day and our continuous struggle (including our forefathers and Sarawakian heroes) to be recognised as equal partners in Malaysia. After 47 years, yes....after 47 years, and not 53 okay. Though some believed that Sarawak could have done it alone 47 years ago but thats just academic argument right now. I will put my foot down on this and say forming Malaysia at that time was the right step and it still is. Tunku Abdul Rahman rightly earned that Bapa Malaysia title for having that vision and may many more leaders with Malaysia at heart continue to lead us. It has been a long struggle and the people of Sarawak need to develop a solid foundation for our younger generations to keep the the spirit of Malaysia burning. Unity, Understanding, Tolerance and Respect for one another and the Law, Love and Patriotism for our country (all enshrined in our Rukun Negara) is the essential fuel for that 1Malaysia journey.

As the Theme for this Malaysia Day is 1Malaysia Menjana Transformasi, it is our fervent hope that 1Malaysia will bring positive transformation for Malaysia and all Malaysians. Terima Kasih Malaysia and Happy Malaysia Day.