Find out about Malaysia Day and celebrate this important occasion.
Malaysia Day (also known as Hari Malaysia in the Malay language) is celebrated by Malaysians on 16th September every year to mark the formation of Malaysia. This day is the day that Malaya, Sabah (then North Borneo) and Sarawak joined together to form Malaysia. Unofficially, it is commonly regarded as the “real national day” as it is this day in 1963, that Malaysia was born.
The initial component states of Malaysia consist of Malaya, North Borneo (now known as Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore left Malaysia on 9th August 1965 to become an independent and sovereign state. Prior to the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak gained its self-government administration on 22nd July 1963, while North Borneo gained its self-government administration on 31st August 1963.
Malaysia Day was initially targeted to happen on 31st August 1963 (to coincide with the sixth Hari Merdeka of Malaya). It was later postponed due to several issues (such as objections from neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Phlippines, and also to provide time for the United Nations team to conduct fact-finding mission in North Borneo and Sarawak). Finally, after almost 2 weeks of postponement, Malaysia was born on 16th September 1963.
However, only Sabah and Sarawak celebrated Malaysia Day as a public holiday for close to five decades. It was only in 2010 that Malaysia Day was finally acknowledged and celebrated as a national public holiday.
Despite Malaysia Day (held on every 16th Sepvember of the year) being a one-day event, the patriotic mood has already started all the way in August (during the Merdeka Day – 31st August). In some ways, it is like an extended “independence day” celebration. Though this day is celebrated by Malaysians across the country, it is an even more significant event for Sabah & Sarawak because these 2 states technically only became really independent when Malaysia was proclaimed on 16 September 1963.
On the actual day itself, there will be various cultural performances (including ethnic dance from Sabah and Sarawak). This day will eventually lead to a firework showcase during the night.