Friday, September 17, 2010

Malaysia Day

I have been wondering since a long time, why there is no Malaysia Day. We have been celebrating Merdeka Day for a long time since 1957. Despite the formation of Malaysia, the Merdeka Day is considered the National Day for Malaysia. Mederka Day is an important historical day for the people in Malayan Peninsular, but the people in Sabah and Sarawak are not directly involved historically. When we celebrated Mederka Day as national day, only Malaya Peninsular people or West Malaysian will feel the mood of the celebration, to East Malaysian, what is that to do with me?....Mederka day is a historical day, it was part of important day in Malaysia forming history, it is significant history, it need to be celebrate. But the national day should be celebrate by all citizen of Malaysia, from West Malaysia to East Malaysia, the whole nation should celebrate in spirit as National Day. This is historical day for Malaysia, Malaya or Federation of Malaya formed in 1957 is no longer exist today, it is now a part of historical chapter of nation forming history. The nation today is Malaysia(Peninsular Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak), naturally Malaysian should celebrate Malaysia Day as National Day, as Malaysian National Day.......

Malaysia Day is to be held on September 16 every year effective from 2010, to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. It marked the joining together of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia. The formation of the new federation was planned to occur on June 1, 1963, but was later postponed to August 31, 1963, in order to coincide with the sixth Hari Merdeka. Several issues related to the Indonesian and the Filipino objection to the formation of Malaysia delayed the declaration to September 16 of the same year. The postponement was also done to allow the United Nations team time to conduct referendums in North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak regarding the two states participation in a new federation(source: wikipedia)

We have been historically blind for so long, and the nation was physically separate by the sea, the West and East. Many Malaysian in West Malaysia still did not know much of East Malaysia. It was only with the operation of low cost airline, Air Asia that the two Malaysia become closer. In fact there are so much to learn from East Malaysia, by West Malaysia.

The nation forming history before Mederka

Following the Japanese Invasion of Malaya and its subsequent occupation during World War II, popular support for independence grew. Post-war British plans to unite the administration of Malaya under a single crown colony called the Malayan Union foundered on strong opposition from the Malays, who opposed the emasculation of the Malay rulers and the granting of citizenship to the ethnic Chinese. The Malayan Union, established in 1946 and consisting of all the British possessions in Malaya with the exception of Singapore, was dissolved in 1948 and replaced by the Federation of Malaya, which restored the autonomy of the rulers of the Malay states under British protection. During this time, rebels under the leadership of the Malayan Communist Party launched guerrilla operations designed to force the British out of Malaya. The Malayan Emergency, as it was known, lasted from 1948 to 1960, and involved a long anti-insurgency campaign by Commonwealth troops in Malaya.

Formation of Federation of Malaya, 31-8-1957

It was on 31-8-1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence from the British. It was the historical day for the citizen and people of former Strait Settlement states(Penang, Malacca), FMS or Federated Malay States(Selangor, Perak, Negri Sembilan,and Pahang) and the UMS or Unfederated Malay States(Johore, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu). The people from the three different political regions finally gained independence from Britain. The nation forming process was not through revolution war, nor through natural political evolution, but with the negotiation of different political stake holders with the colonist. It was a peaceful process with lobby and political negotiation. Finally the constitution was set up, it become the foundation stone for the new nation.

Formation of Malaysia 16-9-1963

In 1963, Malaya along with the then British crown colonies of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, formed Malaysia. The proposed date for the formation of Malaysia was 31 August 1963, to coincide with the independence day of Malaya and the British giving self-rule to Sarawak and Sabah. However, the date was delayed by opposition from the Indonesian government led by Sukarno and also attempts by the Sarawak United People's Party to delay the formation of Malaysia. Singapore's eventual exit in 1965.

Malaysia is a federal constitutional elective monarchy. The federal head of state of Malaysia is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commonly referred to as the King of Malaysia. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is elected to a five-year term among the nine hereditary Sultans of the Malay states; the other four states, which have titular Governors, do not participate in the selection.

The system of government in Malaysia is closely modelled on that of the Westminster parliamentary system, a legacy of British colonial rule. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, though the executive maintains a certain level of influence in the appointment of judges to the courts. Malaysia's legal system is based upon English Common Law.

Legislative power is divided between federal and state legislatures. The bicameral parliament consists of the lower house, the House of Representatives or Dewan Rakyat (literally the "Chamber of the People") and the upper house, the Senate or Dewan Negara (literally the "Chamber of the Nation"). The 222-member House of Representatives is elected for a maximum term of five years from single-member constituencies, which are defined based on population. All 70 Senators sit for three-year terms; 26 are elected by the 13 state assemblies, with the remaining 44 appointed by the king upon the Prime minsters recommendation

Besides the Parliament at the federal level, each state has a unicameral state legislative chamber (Malay: Dewan Undangan Negeri) whose members are elected from single-member constituencies. Parliamentary elections are held at least once every five years, with the last general election being in March 2008. Registered voters of age 21 and above may vote for the members of the House of Representatives and, in most of the states, for the state legislative chamber. Voting is not mandatory.

Executive power is vested in the cabinet led by the prime minister; the Malaysian constitution stipulates that the prime minister must be a member of the lower house of parliament who, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, commands a majority in parliament. The cabinet is chosen from among members of both houses of Parliament and is responsible to that body

State governments are led by Chief Ministers(Menteri Besar in Malay states or Ketua Menteri in states without hereditary rulers), who are state assembly members from the majority party in the Dewan Undangan Negeri. In each of the states with a hereditary ruler, the Chief Minister is required to be a Malay-Muslim, although this rule is subject to the rulers' discretion.

The parliament follows a multi-party system and the governing body is elected through a first-past-the-post system. Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has been governed by a multi-party coalition known as the Barisan Nasional (formerly known as the Alliance Party).


Most Malaysians are granted citizenship by lex soli, also known as birthright citizenship, is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state. Another social policy was Jus sanguinis (Latin: right of blood) is a social policy by which nationality or citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having an ancestor who is a national or citizen of the state. In Malaysia, the automatic application of jus soli has been modified to impose some additional requirements for children of foreign parents, such as the parent being a permanent resident or having lived in the country for a period of time, and able to speak Malay. Citizenship in the states of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo are distinct from citizenship in Peninsular Malaysia for immigration purposes. Every citizen is issued a biometric smart chip identity card, known as MyKad, at the age of 12, and must carry the card at all times. This is the citizen identification for citizen by lex soli and citizen by operation of law(for strait born strait settlement citizen), otherwise a citizen certificate is required for citizen identification.
Multiple citizenship is not allowed in Malaysia. But due to some specific problems based on transportation in hinterland at Borneo or limited understanding of importance of registration of birth, especially for those born oversea or where mother is a foreigner, some rightful citizen was deprive of their right for citizenship.

The criteria to be a Malaysian citizen are:

* every person born before Malaysia Day who is a citizen of the Malaysia by virtue of these provisions
* every person who immediately before Merdeka Day, was a citizen of Malaysia by virtue of any of the provisions of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, whether by operation of law or otherwise
* every person born within Malaysia on or after Merdeka Day and before October, 1962
* every person born within Malaysia after September 1962, of whose parents one at least was at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in Malaysia, or who was not born a citizen of any other country
* every person born outside Malaysia on or after Merdeka Day whose father was a citizen at the time of his birth and either was born in Malaysia or was at the time of the birth in service under the Government of Malaysia or of a State
* every person born outside Malaysia on or after Merdeka Day whose father was a citizen at the time of the birth if the birth was, or is, within 1 year of its occurrence or within such longer period as in any particular case was or is allowed by the Malaysian Government, registered at a consulate of Malaysia or, if it occurred in Singapore, Sarawak, Brunei or North Borneo, registered with the Federal Government
* every person born on or after Malaysia Day, and having any of the qualifications specified below
* every person born within Malaysia of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in Malaysia and
* every person born outside the Malaysia whose father is at the time of the birth a citizen and either was born in Malaysia or is at the time of the birth in the service of the Federation or of a State and
* every person born outside Malaysia whose father is at the time of the birth a citizen and whose birth is, within 1 year of its occurrence or within such longer period as the Malaysian Government may in any particular case allow, registered at a consulate of Malaysia or, if it occurs in Brunei or in a territory prescribed for this purpose by order of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, registered with the Malaysian Government and
* every person born in Singapore of whose parents one at least is at the time of the birth a citizen and who is not born citizen otherwise than by virtue of this paragraph and
* every person born within Malaysia who is not born a citizen of any country otherwise than by virtue of this paragraph

(source: wikipedia)

Other than by operation of law, a person can become a citizen of Malaysia either by registration or naturalization. In cases by registration, where a person is by operation of law is a citizen but have yet to be registered, such person is entitled to citizenship upon application and be registered as a citizen of Malaysia. For cases by naturalization, this refers to the process of admitting a person not a citizen of Malaysia to citizenship. This is subjected to the requirements and conditions of the Federal Government. Any person holding Malaysian citizenship is also disallowed to hold any other country's citizenship. Malaysia does not allow dual citizenship.Those applying for citizenship by registration must have "an elementary knowledge of the Malay language". Those applying to become naturalised citizens must have "an adequate knowledge of the Malay language" and have resided in the country for ten of the past twelve years, including the twelve months immediately preceding the application. These requirements are set out by Part III of the Constitution; however, as there is no objective definition of what constitutes elementary or adequate knowledge of Malay, in practice, the tests are often subjective, sometimes even varying in whether a written knowledge of Malay is required.

Sabah and Sarawak

Residency in the states of Sabah and Sarawak are distinct from the other 11 states. While Sabah and Sarawak each has autonomy in immigration affairs (which includes imposing immigration restrictions on Peninsular Malaysia residents), residents of Sabah and Sarawak are exempted from the immigration controls of their own states. A Malaysian citizen born to a Sabah or Sarawak resident would have Sabah or Sarawak residency, regardless of where the person was born. Birth in Sabah or Sarawak alone does not make a person a resident unless one of his/her parents is a resident. A person may become a Sabah or Sarawak resident by obtaining Permanent Residence (PR) status issued by the respective state immigration departments. The residency status of a person is indicated by an alphabet on his/her MyKad below the photo, with, "H" for Sabahans, "S" for Sarawakians and none for Peninsular Malaysians.

As the nation has become an old man of 53 years nation; some of the citizen have forgotten the constitution and nation formation history. There were those historically blind people who still believed that Malaysian citizen was by specific race. We must always remember that the Malaysia was formed by the negotiation and mutual agreement of various stake holders representing the various interest parties of diffident racial background. It is a multi- racial country.

Malaysia after 53 years

Malaysia was the pride to many developing nations. Looking back we are going back to the starting point of nation formation, still not gaining the confident of the nation of 53 years of history. The maturity stage of nation development process just did not come, we are still behave like an infant country. The government and people are blurred in their thinking of nation, it was reflected in many of our national policies, national thinking, national identification. The nation just lack the mental of confident 53 years old nation to move forward. We just like to play political games, to consolidate power base, and the nation stand still when other younger or less developed countries are moving ahead, while we are still solving our internal problems.

The Westminster parliamentary system , where the judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, become blurred. There seems to be overlapping of influences, some begin to question the independence of our judiciary...

Some overzealous educationist or historian seeking ways to push their ideal concept of nationalism, many historically blind to nation formation history. The implementation of the official policies, some operating officers are historically blind to forget the root of nation formation, and that they are the servant of the Malaysian citizen.

Political Party and Nation become blurred, as the nation was controlled by the single political party for too long since the independence. National policies were always mistaken with political policies, Nation and Politic, become blurred. The problem of role conflict in the political situation. They are not able to change their hat in different role.

The young Malaysian born in Malaysia, are begin to question the equality as a citizen right. But some sector are historically blind to play around with citizen right, many with hidden political agenda. With the internet technology, the young citizen are exposed to development of outside world, the leaders can no longer like a ostrich hiding their head in the sand. The action of the national leaders and politician are being watched by the young citizen who are mostly educated lots.

The national day have been celebrated with Federation of Malaya day; only now we celebrate Malaysia day, but will it be at bigger scale than Mederka Day, will it be treated as National Day?.....

National climate of change is there, and it is moving; no one can stop the wheel of change, it is change with time, change with the world. We do not like to be in the coconut shell anymore....we want to look out at the world, and move with them.... In the borderless world, racial identity become blurred to the younger generation, common global popular culture become stronger, any policies based on racial identification will soon become outdated, and not fit with the current global environment.

Malaysian's Malaysia, One Malaysia, all should have started immediately after the formation of Malaysia nation, not 43 years later....

The nation and the people cannot become blurred....blur blur....anymore...late is still better than none. Hope we will think less of Malayan, more of Malaysian as national identity.

Happy Malaysia Day......

Note: It is interesting to know that 16th September is also the birthday of Lee Kuan Yew,who was born on 16th September 1923. Lee Kuan Yew was the chief minister of Malaysian Singapore, and former prime minister of Republic of Singapore. The day is also the birthday of the Yang di-Pertua of Sabah state. Is it coincident?...

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