By Anthony Dylan

The month of September started off with gloomy weather and rain occurring in the early mornings and late afternoons. Malaysia would turn 60 years old this year on 16th September 2023.

It was 60 years ago on 16th September 1963 when Malaysia was born. A new nation created by the independent entities of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah was officially declared on that date. It was a known fact that Brunei was part of the discussions preceding the formation of Malaysia but that did not happen for many historical reasons.  That left the 4 to become Malaysia before Singapore decided to leave the Federation of Malaysia on 9th August 1965.

The original idea was to have the formation of Malaysia officially on 31st August 1963, but this had to be postponed 16th of September 1963 to accommodate the requirements of the United Nations. The following Treaty for the Malaysia Agreement can be accessed in the depository website of the UNITED NATIONS TREATY series:

No. 10760







Agreement relating to Malaysia (with annexes, including

the Constitutions of the States of Sabah, Sarawak

and Singapore, the Malaysia Immigration Bill and

the Agreement between the Governments of the

Federation of Malaya and Singapore on common

market and financial arrangements).

Signed at London

on 9 July 1963

Agreement amending the above-mentioned Agreement.

Signed at Singapore on 28 August 1963

A historical fact to note as well is that Malaysia was born as a nation formed from independent states of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah on 16th September 1963. We need to be very clear about 31st August as well as many Malaysians themselves have forgotten history.

The Federation of Malaya Independence Agreement from the British was signed in London on 8th February 1956 and the official date for independence was 31st August 1957. That is the reason why “Merdeka” is expressed on this date to remember the 66 years of independence of Malaya from the British. Singapore obtained self-rule on 3rd June 1959.

In view of the executed Malaysia Agreement in London on 9th July 1963, Sarawak was then given independent self-rule from the British on 22 July 1963 and Sabah (changing her name from North Borneo) on 31st August 1963.   All 4 entities were already free of British rule and created Malaysia officially on 16th September 1963.

That is why celebrating 31st August each year from 1957 would give you 66 years of Merdeka this year. But whose? It is for Malaya. Sarawak and Sabah acknowledge this as a celebration of a partner in Malaysia. For Sabah, they would celebrate 60 years as theirs fell on the same day but in 1960.

It is strange as to why politicians and even the private sectors fail to correct the error of what 31st August meant to the people in the Peninsula. We should continue to educate all instead of living in denial. The recognition of the significant Malaysia Day finally came into fruition in 2010.

Celebrating the Merdeka of 31st August is a celebration of Malaya and Sabah’s date of ‘Merdeka’ in 1967 and 1963 respectively. Sarawak celebrates with her partners. Being factual gives credit to accuracy of historical timelines.

We should remember that Malaysia as a nation this year is 60 years old. We have gone through many trials and tribulations for a country which existed since 1963. Singapore on their own celebrated 58 years this year. The ties between Singapore and Malaysia today remain strong, though at times, each takes some naughty banter to occasionally prod each other. But all is well, akin to brothers and sisters taking some friendly jibes at each other.

Malaysia at 60 sees us having our 10th Prime Minister gracing the event which would be held in the Unity Stadium (Stadium Perpaduan) in Kuching, Sarawak on 16th September 2023. Coincidentally, the Unity Government will celebrate in a Unity Stadium presumably in a City of Unity. Kuching would be an interesting selection as Kuching as two cities; North and South were elevated on 1 August 1988. Hopefully, being united would be the focus of Malaysia heading out of 2023 and onto the many years to come. It is important that the over 33 million people and over 21 million voters from that know the importance of being united. Perhaps we should also refresh ourselves with the Rukun Negara which we should all remember and practice:

Lima Prinsip Rukun Negara yang berikut: – 

  • Kepercayaan Kepada Tuhan
  • Kesetiaan Kepada Raja dan Negara
  • Keluhuran Perlembagaan
  • Kedaulatan Undang-undang
  • Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan


Five basic principles or values are embedded in the Rukun Negara: 

  • Belief in God
  • Loyalty to the King and Country
  • Supremacy of the Constitution
  • Rule of Law
  • Mutual respect and good social behavior 

We cannot allow those who aim to divide to continue to use divisive politics for political stature at the expense of a peaceful Malaysia. Even nowadays, Sarawak and Sabah have provided constant reminders that Malaysia must not go down that path of no return.

It is best that everyone remembers Malaysia at 60 had gone through many trials and tribulations. We have been successful in most and that can be seen with the many developments which we all enjoy today. We should also take heart that a united Malaysia can only happen with a united people. Ignore the rhetoric of divisive speeches. Prepare your children and friends to vote wisely. Do not throw the power to vote by voting without thinking or at worst, refraining to vote. Remember this when elections come again where you are voter, and this would now include all Malaysian from age 18 years old onwards.

Happy 60th Malaysia Day!!

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