Did you know? 16 September was not the initial date for Malaysia Day. On July 9, 1963, the British, Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore signed the Malaysia Agreement. On August 20, 1963, the Malayan Parliament enacted the Malaysia Act.
1 June 1963, was the initial date for the new federation but that date changed to 31 August 1963, to coincide with Hari Merdeka’s 6th anniversary.
The declaration was postponed to September 16 of the same year due to a number of concerns including the Philippines’ and Indonesia’s neighbors’ opposition to the creation of Malaysia.
The delay also gave the UN delegation time to visit North Borneo and Sarawak to gather information about the two nations’ potential membership in a future federation.
The first celebration of Malaysia Day was actually on 17 September 1963. This is to allow other heads of states from Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to attend the public ceremony.
Declaration of public holiday
Prior to 2010, Malaysia Day was a state public holiday only in Sabah and Sarawak. It was only on the 47th anniversary that it became a public holiday.
On 19 October 2009, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Parliament that the Cabinet had taken the “historic decision” to mark Malaysia Day starting in 2010 by declaring 16 September a national holiday.
He stated that while Malaysia Day would be honored with ceremonies aimed at fostering unity and understanding between various ethnic groups, among other things, Merdeka Day on 31 August would remain a reminder of the struggle to achieve independence and be celebrated with official events such as parades.
The rising of the Malaysian flag
Did you know that it was not Tunku Abdul Rahman that raised the first flag of Malaysia? It was actually his son that raised the flag.
During the ceremony, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj gave the Malaysian flag to his son Capt. Tunku Ahmad Nerang, a member of the Royal Malay Regiment. He then raised the flag as the national anthem played in the background.