Friday, September 7, 2007

Bintulu's new Generation Confused.

Part I - Love at First Sight turns first cut the deepest.
Why is it that after 44 years of achieving Independence in the state of Malaysia , that Sabahans as well as Bintuluians are confused on the date of celebrating their Independence?
Based on two newspaper cuttings ( as shown above), I did a bit of research on the confusion. Herein I reveal my analysis. I will blog today on the first part.
On 13/7/07, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said.."studies should be carried out on the names of roads, villages, rivers and others so that the people know about their history."Based on my fact finding mission, it was revealed to me in no uncertain terms that Malaysia was indeed born on 16/9/63.
The Borneo Post column (Saturday with Paul Sir, dated 25/8/07) pointed out that..."many Sarawakians and Sabahans are insisting that it is actually the 50th year of independence for Malayans but 44th year of nationhood for them. Yes, one can easily get distracted bythe issue at hand whenever we are faced with disagreement and debate. But surely history cannot be altered. The best way is to allow the two states across the South China Sea to continue with the Merdeka Day celebrations six years behind, as they have always done so."
On a more nationalistic note , Parti Keadilan Rakyat(PKR) Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said: " In the case of Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak we achieved our respective independence peacefully through hardearned negotiations by our forefathers. This does not mean that dates are unimprtant. The Barisan National leaders thus should be sincere and portray the correct history instead of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Malaysia's independence on 1957".
Dr Jeffrey when interviewed further said:"But Sabah( along with Sarawak) wanted to ensure there are sufficient safeguards to protect our autonomous rights with the new federation lest we(Sabah) be downgraded as one of the states in Malaysia instead of an equal partner in the Federal Government consisting of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak as assured by Tunku Abdul Rahman. Hence the Twenty Points, the Inter-Government Report and eventually the Malysia Agreement. Consequently Malaysia nly became a reality on Septmber 16th,1963. This is the actual birth of Malaysia. So Malaysia is 44 years old.
My comments:
1)Yes it is true as a fact of history that when we achieved independence it was from the British colonialist like our West Malaysian counterparts experienced in 1957.
2) It is also a historical fact( agreed in school textbooks and opposition political leaders in Malaysia) that 16/9/63 was the birth date of Malaysia incorporating Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore out of mutual willingness, something we can call as self-imposed independence instead of fighting our way out to achieve independence from the British colonialists.
3) Therefore based on this concrete evidence and contextual analysis, there is no valid reason whatsoever for the government of the day not to celebrate 16/9//63 as Merdeka Day.
Why has this confusion went unnoticed or kept under the carpet by the government of the day?
And what effects does it have on nation building especially in giving content and meaning to independence.?
The first question is relatively easy to answer. The confusion persisted because politicians do not read history books well enough. They are just naughty students of history who do not mind failing their history test. But for most of us Bintuluians, Sabahans ad Sarawakians, who really want to contribute to our nation, we always ask the correct question i.e. What can you contribute to your country.? Rather than what the country owes you, which sad to say is largely the perceptions of confused, doubtful , non-objective and plain mischievious politicians.
Finally, I am forever inclined to believe that if we see history as the story of man's motivation changing through time( instead of dates, dates and dates) we will notice that by 16/9/63 the motivations of Sabahans and Sarawakians at that critical juncture was to be part of a new nation called Malaysia, as equal partners( just like DrJeffrey recalled) and we should put meaning and content into nation building. This is where all Malaysians can contribute . We should never be asked again on the sacral date. It is plain fact and and act of faith that people in Sabah and Sarawak put into the formation of Malaysia. Without their faith in the sacral date, no Malaysian nation would have been formed.
Thus in the final analysis, we should celebrate Malaysia Day and not Merdeka day.
Be serious for once if we want Malaysia to stay intact and put meaning into building Malaysia as a new nation. Leave 1957 as history and let us build our new Malaysia together. ( Pak Lah would have said, " Marilah kita bina Malaysia bersama-sama..)

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