We dont really know why the Government took 47 years to celebrate the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 for the first time and gazetted it as a public holiday. To say that its so close to Aug 31 Independence Day doesnt chime any logic.
However, here we are, thanks to the wisdom of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Of course, this augurs well for his 1Malaysia.
As a Malaysian myself, I am proud not to be an American (to be despised and hated by many for flexing its muscle on others), or a Singaporean (for looking down at its neighbours), or as an Indonesian (a country too difficult to manage for having thousands of islands), an African (for living in the dark), a Palestinian (for being oppressed daily by the Israelis) or as an Arab (for having to become an American yes-man) or perhaps not as a citizen to some parts of Europe where racism thrives.
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.
According to Wikipedia, the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak into Malaysia was met with strong opposition from Indonesia (over its claim on North Kalimantan) and the Philippines (over Sabah).
That prompted Sukarno to launch 'Ganyang Malaysia' on 27 July 1963, months after his Foreign Minister Subandrio announced on Jan 20 that Indonesia would pursue a 'confrontation policy' against Malaysia, which Jakarta described as a British puppet. (Some Indonesians, till to date still uphold that 'Ganyang policy' each time they demonstrate displeasure toward Malaysia).
During the 1962-1966 confrontation, Malaysian allied forces (together with UK, Australia and New Zealand) lost 114 army personnel while Indonesia lost 590. A total of 36 civilians also died.
This is a history Malaysians should learn and remember. The early years of Independence were marred with unpleasant incidents, not only the Konfrontasi but also the eventual exit of Singapore in 1965, the racial riot in 1969 and the threats from Communist Party of Malaya.
I wonder if most of our present and future generations would remember how the map of Malaysia looks like. I studied Sejarah (History), 'Ilmu Alam' and Geography during my primary and secondary schools. We studied every inch of our country, every city and town that made us appreciate our Land and be proud of it. Unfortunately, such subjects are considered as not important anymore since the 1990s.
Opppsss... just for our common knowledge. Singapore Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew also celebrates his birthday today. I wonder why did our leaders choose this date to form Malaysia. Of course Lee Kuan Yew was there during that time. Knowing he would pull Singapore out of Malaysia two years later, he could have influenced the leaders to pick the date - as he didnt want Malaysians to forget him... forever!
And for Malaysians who still dont know how our map looks like and where Perlis. Sabah or Melaka are located, I give you a simple one up there...
PS... didnt someone vow to takeover Putrajaya on Sept 16? Who? When was that?