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Tomorrow, September 16th is Malaysia Day.

There was Independence Day just two weeks ago, and now Malaysia Day, what on earth is Malaysia Day? I’m sure some of you are wondering what Malaysia Day is. So today, let’s talk about these two holidays.

Independence Day is the anniversary of the independence of the Federation of Malaya from the United Kingdom on August 31, 1957. At that time, there were only 11 states in the Malay Peninsula, but on September 16, 1963, Singapore (which became independent from Malaysia in 1965), Sabah, and Sarawak joined to form the Federation of Malaysia. The current national flag was also used from 1963. The Malaysian flag is called the Jalur Gemilang (glorious stripes) and has 14 lines representing the 13 states and the federal territories, but at the time of independence, there were only 11 lines representing the 11 states. The number of points of the star has also increased from 11 to 14. If you don’t look closely, you won’t notice it, but if you know the history, it’s interesting to see the meaning behind the flag.

Malaysia Day, which celebrates the day that Malaysia became what it is today, was actually decided during the time of Najib Razak, the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia, and became a national holiday in 2010.

In July, the theme and logo for the year’s Independence Day, Malaysia Day, are announced. This year’s theme is the same as last year’s, Malaysia Prihatin, which means to be concerned or to care in Malay. Now, we are facing difficulties due to covid-19. Thus this theme means that the people should care for each other, unite and fight against the covid-19, and the government will give top priority to the lives of the people.

As August approaches, the national flag is raised everywhere in the city, sales and promotions begin, and if you visit a movie theater or theater before Independence Day, the audience will stand up and sing the national anthem before the screening, putting the whole country in a celebratory mood.

Usually, on the eve of Independence Day, there is a countdown fireworks display at KLCC, and on the morning of the day, a parade can be seen at Merdeka Square (Putrajaya in recent years). On Malaysia Day, Sabah and Sarawak take turns to hold grand ceremonies, attracting large crowds. This year’s host is Sabah, at the Sabah International Convention Center (SICC), but due to the Covid-19, the ceremony will be simpler following the SOP.

Independence Day, when the Malay Peninsula became independent as the Federation of Malaya, and Malaysia Day when East Malaysia joined and became “Malaysia”, are both important holidays. This year, I can only watch it through TV, but next year, when the usual ceremonies and events come back, I would like to actively visit them.

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