Translation of PM's Merdeka message[Following is the English translation of the full text of speech delivered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the 57th National Day address at the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman of the Malaysian Tourism Centre (Matic) in Kuala Lumpur tonight (Aug 30).]
1. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks be to Allah (God), with His permission once again, wherever we may be in this country, we continue to be protected in peace, to celebrate the anniversary of our independence.
2. Unlike in previous years, when the message was recorded and broadcast over the television, tonight I have chosen to speak live to hundreds of people present on the eve of independence, to express the spirit of patriotism and the burning desire of the nation's struggle, from eye to eye, from heart to heart, especially for all of you who are here representing the people of Malaysia.
3. The reality is that every independence begins with a noble struggle and unparalleled sacrifice, especially by the Malay Rulers and palace, political leaders and the people.
4. In this respect, if we look at the history of our nation, we were colonised for four and a half centuries, beginning with the fall of the Melaka Malay Sultanate at the hands of the Portuguese in 1511 until the British administration. The colonialists came in succession to reap the benefits and to suppress the natives, up until independence on August 31, 1957.
5. Looking back at history, everyone must remember that this country originated as the Federation of Malay States, and subsequently united with Sabah and Sarawak.
6. With reference to this episode, we hear rumblings and unsavoury voices which question why the date of the formation of Malaysia is not the same as the date of independence; why Sept 16, when in the peninsula, it's Aug 31.
7. In this matter, we have to study what was really worked out by the special commission which was assigned to conduct a referendum among the people of Sabah and Sarawak in the process of the formation of Malaysia at that time.
8. For the information of the public, the later date came about due to technical reasons, because the Cobbold Commission had to wait for verification from the United Nations on the majority agreement through a referendum before finalising its report. As such, Sept 16 was fixed as the day for the formation of Malaysia.
9. Going from there, this year, we celebrate the 57th anniversary of independence and the 51st year of Sabah and Sarawak having been with us as one Malaysia. Long live Malaysia, long live Malaysia!
10. As such, we are thankful for the common history between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak, which are separated by the South China Sea, as well as the bond of brotherhood of all Malaysians from Arau in Perlis to Semporna in Sabah and Ulu Lachau in Sarawak, that cannot be broken; in fact, God willing, it will be strengthened further.
11. Hence, as soon as the 13th general election was over, to symbolise the new mandate received by the government, I did not hesitate to appoint a number of ministers and deputy ministers from Sabah and Sarawak in respect of the support given by our brethren there to the Barisan Nasional (BN).
12. Now more than one year has passed. The number of representatives from Sabah and Sarawak in the government is an important yardstick in determining the next course for our beloved Malaysia.
13. I had stressed in my major addresses over the past more than one year that the present government has a huge responsibility in prioritising the interests of the people, particularly the Malay and Bumiputera communities, Muslims and non-Muslims, who represent more than 70 per cent of the Malaysian people, by 2020.
14. So, whatever the opposition tries to do though incitement and accusations, we are steadfast in our agenda to empower the people.
15. Recalling our pre-independence history, the complexities surrounding our quest for Merdeka had caused some apprehension among certain quarters on our choice to do it our way. But it can be seen that we have turned our plural society into an asset for prosperity and an ingredient of success at the highest level.
16. We plan and leave the rest to God; this country had faced and weathered numerous challenges. Yet our Merdeka heart, Merdeka soul and Merdeka spirit shine through, such that we are able to rise above all and acquire success, our own way. Well done, Malaysians! Well done, Malaysians!