Plan in the works to gazette August 31 as Sabah Day

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR) – A plan is being drawn up to gazette August 31 as Sabah Day, apart from just observing the date as Merdeka Day, said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said Sabah gained its independence on August 31, 1963, and it should be commemorated in the state.

“Sabah Day, a day to commemorate Sabah’s independence, could be observed for the first time next year,” Dr Jeffrey said yesterday.

“I have already prepared the Cabinet paper to gazette Sabah Day, which has been one of the main annual celebrations for my party, Sabah STAR,” said Dr Jeffrey, who is the party president.

At the moment, however, he said such an important step requires the unanimous support of the Sabah assembly which is unable to convene during the emergency.

He is, however, confident that Sabah Day could be formally gazetted next year and a huge celebration could be safely held once COVID-19 cases are under control.

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Dr Jeffrey Kitingan. PHOTO: THE STAR

Jeffrey said Sabah STAR has always celebrated Sabah Day and now wants all Sabahans to join in to commemorate this important day.

He said some may argue that there is no need for this as August 31 is already a public holiday, but stressed that this was not the point of Sabah Day.

“We want to recognise the date as Sabah Day to celebrate our independence, not just National Day which celebrates the peninsula’s independence. In other words, we want what Sarawak has,” he said.

Sarawak observes and celebrates July 22 as Sarawak Independence Day, commemorating the date in 1963 when it established self-government.