Malaysia Day (Malay: Hari Malaysia) is a public holiday held on 16 September every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. This event saw the union of Malaya, North Borneo (which was renamed Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore into a single state. Singapore, however, was expelled from the federation less than two years later, on 9 August 1965.
The planned date for the formation of the new federation was 1 June 1963, but the event was postponed to 31 August 1963, to coincide with the sixth Hari Merdeka. Several issues relating to the objections of neighbouring Indonesia and the Philippines to the formation of Malaysia delayed the declaration to 16 September of the same year. The postponement also allowed the United Nations team time to conduct a fact-finding mission in North Borneo and Sarawak regarding the two states participation in a new federation. No referendum regarding federation was ever conducted in North Borneo or Sarawak. Singapore held a referendum on 1 September 1962, with all three options endorsing integration into Malaysia.
The formation of Malaysia was done under the basis of the Malaysia Agreement, signed in 1963 by the United Kingdom, the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, North Borneo, and Singapore. This Agreement set out the terms and conditions for the component States to be federated under a new constitution. This Agreement included in its annexes the "Malaysia Bill" (Annex A), and the constitutions of Sabah (Annex B), Sarawak (Annex C), and Singapore (Annex D). The "Malaysia Bill" was introduced in the Malayan Parliament on 9 July 1963, and received consent from Tuanku Syed Putra, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, on 29 August 1963.
Prior to the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak gained self-government on 22 July 1963. North Borneo began self-governing on 31 August 1963, coinciding with the sixth anniversary of the Malayan independence and the originally intended date of the Malaysia Agreement.
Prior to 2010, Malaysia Day was observed as a state public holiday only in Sabah and Sarawak. In 2010 Malaysia Day became a nationwide public holiday. Prime Minister Najib Razak made the decision after a question-and-answer session at Parliament on 19 October 2009, giving Malaysians two celebrations related to the country's independence.
In conjunction with the day celebration in 2018 under the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promised to restore a more autonomous status to Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with the original Malaysia Agreement, changing "their status from merely a state to an equal partner of the Malayan states". On Malaysia Day in 2020, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin made a similar pledge.
16 September is also Malaysian Armed Forces Day.
In popular culture
Malaysia Forever was a song composed by Bobby Gimby to celebrate the Formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. Bobby Gimby received the nickname "The Pied Piper of Canada" after the Prime Minister nicked Gimby "the Pied Piper from Canada". The song was recorded in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is a folk song with a length of 2 minutes sung by the Choir of the Marymount Vocational School (Singapore). On the days before the merger, it was taught to school children and became an instant hit when it was broadcast over the air-waves throughout Malaysia.
- Independence Day (Malaysia)
- Sarawak Independence Day
- North Borneo Self-government Day
- 20-point agreement (Sabah)
- 18-point agreement (Sarawak)
- History of Malaysia
- Singapore in Malaysia
- Malaysia Forever
- Media related to Agreement relating to Malaysia at Wikimedia Commons
- Works related to Selamat Hari Malaysia ke-50 regarding Pulau Pinang, Melaka, Sarawak dan Sabah in Malay language at Wikisource