Dr Jeffrey Kitingan
KOTA KINABALU: This year’s Malaysia Day holds a deeper significance for Sabahans, as Sabah Day is set to be officially celebrated for the first time in six decades.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said he was elated that after years of fighting for Sabah Day to be recognised, the current Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-led (GRS) Government has now made the right decision by endorsing and recognising the historic event.
He noted that this recognition is not just symbolic but a true reflection of Sabah’s integral role within the Malaysian federation.
“Political parties like STAR, SAPP and UBF have consistently commemorated Sabah’s independence day for many years, despite the absence of official recognition from previous Sabah governments.
“Their unwavering dedication reflects the resilient spirit of Sabah’s people and their passion for preserving their history.
“So, this will be a special day not only for those of us who have been promoting and celebrating this event, but also for all Sabahans who share the spirit of celebrating Sabah’s heritage,” he said.
Dr Jeffrey emphasised that the event underscores the growing importance of preserving cultural legacies.
“Therefore, as the chairman of this event which will be held in Tambunan on 31 August this year, I invite Sabahans to come together in their traditional attire as we celebrate our cultural identities and diversity that make up Sabah’s heritage,” he said.
Jeffrey said the day’s programmes will include a lively parade, historical exhibitions, cultural performances, and a traditional market (Tamu), which the organisers hope will provide attendees with an immersive experience of Sabah’s journey to independence.
In addition, there festivities will feature the raising of Sabah’s original flag, the signing of giant Sabah flags, fireworks displays, among other activities.
He said the organisers are considering the coordination of online forums and workshops on 30 August to provide opportunities for learning and engagement.
“We aim to create a space where people can connect, learn, and celebrate together. It’s a chance to rediscover our roots and inspire a new generation to take pride in our unique heritage,” he said.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor had announced that Sabah will celebrate Sabah Day on August 31 to commemorate the day it became an independent nation 60 years ago.
He said the State Cabinet made the decision during its meeting last week and has chosen Tambunan as the venue for the inaugural celebrations.
“It was also decided that the celebrations to mark Sabah’s important historical milestone, will be celebrated annually with the venue to be rotated among the districts,” said the Chief Minister.
“Let us honour and commemorate the day which marked the end of the British colonial rule in Sabah and signifying our journey of coming together as a people to establish self- rule,” he said.
Sabah subsequently formed the Federation of Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore on September 16, 1963.
He said the event in Tambunan is scheduled at 3pm after the National Day celebrations in here.
The celebration for this year’s Sabah Day will be held at Tambunan Sports Complex at 3 pm and to continue at the Pisompuruan Square Hall at 6 pm.