KOTA KINABALU, Sept 15 — Malaysia Day celebrations could move to Peninsular Malaysia next year to ensure that all Malaysians understand its significance, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo.
Gobind, who is in Sabah ahead of official Malaysia Day festivities tomorrow, said September 16 was an important date for the country as a whole and should not be limited to Sabah and Sarawak.
“I will propose that the Malaysia Day celebration will be held in Peninsular Malaysia next year,” he said to reporters when met at Padang Merdeka here today.
Gobind said he will also propose that all states conduct Malaysia Day events in future.
“We are a multi-racial country and all Malaysians need to appreciate this day, as well as the peace and harmony enjoyed all these years,” he said.
He was asked to why Malaysia Day celebrations were only held Sabah and Sarawak, and not in west Malaysia.
In 2010, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared Malaysia Day a national public holiday; it was previously a state holiday in Sabah and Sarawak
Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined on September 16, 1963 to form Malaysia. Singapore was expelled two years later.
Celebrations had previously alternated between Sabah and Sarawak, with those residing in the peninsula marking August 31 — Merdeka Day — for the same purpose.
This previously upset some in East Malaysia who felt the day was not given the appropriate honour.
Gobind said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad chose to hold this year’s National Day celebration in West Malaysia while Sabah would host Malaysia Day celebrations.
“This is also to celebrate the change of government in Sabah,” he said.
Dr Mahathir is set to attend the celebrations here tomorrow at the Padang Merdeka, his first trip here since he became PM a second time.