KOTA KINABALU, Sept 9 — Amid calls for greater autonomy in Sabah and Sarawak, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will lead the signing of a commemorative document this Malaysia Day to mark the anniversary of the country’s formation 52 years ago.
Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the signing ceremony will be graced by the prime minister during the national-level Malaysia Day celebration to be held at Padang Merdeka here.
“For the highlight, he will sign a document to commemorate the formation of Malaysia Day with the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak during the event,” said Masidi during a press conference to announce the celebration.
Likening the ceremony to a “reenactment” of Malaysia’s formation, he said the document is to be a reminder to the two states and Peninsular Malaysia of its bond, and re-solidify relations between the partners.
The document, which he also referred to as a “book”, will be kept and exhibited for future generations to be used as reference in later years, although he said the significance was in the momentous occasion and not the actual document.
Calls for greater autonomy in Sabah and Sarawak have been getting louder over the years, to the point that some groups have even mooted the states’ secession from Malaysia.
Chief among their concerns are the purported disparity in development and infrastructure in the two states, worsening racial and religious relations and general disregard for the Malaysia Agreement.
Sabah and Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Tan Sri Adenan Satem both recently called for greater autonomy in the administration of their respective states in areas like education, among others. Najib also recently promised more “empowerment” to the two states.
Earlier, Masidi said that the national-level Malaysia Day celebration this September 16 expected to see a crowd of some 10,000 people and that Sabah and Sarawak were “looking forward to some good announcements”.
The event, to be broadcasted live, will also see recognition given to certain groups of Malaysians – Mount Kinabalu mountain guides who had helped during the June 5 earthquake in Sabah, Malaysians who had helped out during the flood crisis in Kelantan, rural fishermen as well as September 16 babies over the decades.
“We want to highlight the many good that Malaysia has achieved, not just little bad things that have come up recently. We have to celebrate all that we are proud of in the country,” he said.