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Malaysia Day a significant occasion to nurture unity, harmony

0 month ago, 16-Sep-2023

Dr Lim Soo Fon (left) posing with his family.

SIBU (Sept 16): Kuching-born Dr Lim Soo Fon, currently based in the UK, describes Malaysia Day as an occasion that is likely to provide Malaysians abroad an opportunity to reflect and come together to celebrate all that makes them Malaysians.

The medical practitioner believes that this is the time to take pride in ones roots and share love of Malaysian food.

Beyond these, thoughts and discussions are often bittersweet as we contemplate those circumstances and life choices that have led us to be where we are, abroad, and often away from family and loved ones, Dr Lim told The Borneo Post when asked on how Malaysians would celebrate Malaysia Day in the UK.

For the record, Dr Lim received a royal invitation to attend a reception at Buckingham Palace in UK, which was hosted by King Charles III and the Queen Consort Camilla on Feb 1 this year.

University of Technology Sarawak (UTS) law lecturer, Mohd Kamarul Anwar Mohd Suhaimi, said the significance of Malaysia Day extended beyond its historical context.

According to him, the occasion serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to strengthen national unity and harmony.

Mohd Kamarul Anwar Mohd Suhaimi

As I am in Sibu, a town located in the central region of Sarawak, I know the importance of cooperation and tolerance among different communities.

The celebration encourages dialogue and interaction among my friends and colleagues here from various backgrounds, paving the way for a united and prosperous nation.

Something unique that needs to be preserved for the continuous wellbeing of the community.

Knowing, learning and exploring new local foods, culture and traditions is a kind of celebration for me here in Sibu, Sarawak, said Mohd Kamarul, who hails from Kuala Berang in Hulu Terengganu.

Touching on its uniqueness, he said Malaysia Day marks the day when Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Tanah Melayu joined hands to form the Federation of Malaysia, although Singapore had since become its own country.

He noted that the main races that made up Malaysian citizens are Malay, Chinese and Indian, but there are also other races including the Iban, Melanau, Dayak and Kadazan.

All of them live in a harmonious environment, he added.

The proof is where you can see all Malaysians embrace each others culture and religion. All Malaysians are related to each other, not by blood but by their behaviour and manner.

The locals are very close and helpful to each other. This is the uniqueness that we should preserve and celebrate in our special day.

He opined that the celebration encourages the preservation and appreciation of each communitys unique customs, fostering mutual respect and understanding among the citizens.

This years Malaysia Day celebration will be at Stadium Perpaduan, Kuching.

Sarawak has been chosen to host this years national-level Malaysia Day celebration, with the theme Malaysia Madani: Tekad Perpaduan, Penuhi Harapan.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and wife Puan Sri Datuk Amar Jumaani Tun Tuanku Bujang, and the Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and his wife Datin Seri Julia Salag are expected to attend the Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16.

Asked if he will be in Kuching for Malaysia Day celebration, Mohd Kamarul said: I will stay here in Sibu celebrating Malaysia Day with my friends.

A lovely place to stay and mingle around.

On this years theme, he said Madani is the Malay acronym for SCRIPT, which stands for sustainability, care and compassion, respect, innovation, prosperity, and trust.

Malaysia Madani is regarded as the master key to ensure that the people enjoy all forms of progress and modernity, he added.

As the theme Malaysia Madani is applied, it implies the significance of the governments agenda, which is to focus on problem-solving processes, meeting the needs of the nation, creating a peaceful and prosperous future and fulfilling the potential of the people and the country.

It shows the governments commitment and effort to ensure Malaysia focuses on good governance, sustainable development and racial harmony in the country. The theme is in line with the Malaysia governments determination and commitment to develop the country with the people being united, possessing a high spirit of unity, and living in peace and prosperity.

Social life in Malaysia with its diversity of religions, races and cultures requires each individual to show mutual respect through unifying values, thus avoiding prejudice and misunderstanding. So, there is determination or tekad for the community to always be united in whatever circumstances in order for us to achieve the nations hope or harapan. Determination of unity to fulfil hope, he opined.

Mohd Kamarul added: It appears that the governments strategy, therefore, is to introduce programmes that influence all areas of Malaysian life from the political to the economic and social levels in order to grease the gears of the countrys clockwork, to ensure not only that it continues to turn but is primed to take on ambitious mobilisation.

He stressed that Malaysia Day is a special day and hence, should not be seen as another public holiday.

It is a day that means more than the commemoration of the formation of a beautiful nation named Malaysia.

The celebration of Malaysia Day brings all Malaysians together, regardless of their race, religion and ethnicity, fostering a sense of patriotism.

Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Kullin Djayang informed that at least 700 STU members are serving outside Sarawak such as in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

He said these teachers are Sarawakians and from the peninsula who served in Sarawak.

Kullin Djayang

Most of them serve in secondary schools, primary schools and there are also a few who are officers in PPD (District Education Office) who are also on duty at the Education Headquarters in Putrajaya, said Kullin.

As long as they are members of STU, we will treat them the same as members in Sarawak. All facilities and benefits remain the same.

Many of the members have personal insurance from STU and it is still active. STU is always ready to assist, if any of them need advice in utilising the insurance they subscribe to, he added.

STU hoped that STU members who are in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah can celebrate the National Month starting July 22 to Sept 16 every year, he said.

STU hopes that members understand the significant dates related to the three regions in the Malaysian Federation throughout the National Month.

All those dates such as July 22, Aug 31 and Sept 16 should be respected for the sake of regional and racial unity, said Kullin.

Meanwhile, head of the History Programme at the Research Centre for History, Politics and International Affairs, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Dr Suffian Mansor, said Malaysia Day celebration should be emphasised among Malaysians because it is one of the important historical events for the country.

In that spirit, the Malaysia Day celebration can strengthen the countrys national integration so that the people realise that independence is not limited to Malaya, but also Sabah and Sarawak, he was reported to have told Bernama recently.