What’s the difference between Independence Day and Malaysia Day

Every year, there are two public holidays in Malaysia that confuse me every year.  I look it up every year because, every year, I forget what I learned the year before.  In fact just two days ago, I told a friend the wrong information!  That’s how confused I get  There’s National Day, or Independence Day, in August.  Two weeks later there’s Malaysia Day in September. Both are public holidays, so what’s the difference?


Independence Day (Hari Merdeka) celebrates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957, celebrated on 31 August every year. This should not be confused with Malaysia Day (Hari Malaysia) when Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963 together by Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.  

The events in 1963 were scheduled to happen on the 31st of Aug but were delayed because of opposition from Indonesia and the Philippines.  Indonesia had a fear that there would be trouble in Borneo from Sarawak going into their province of Kalimantan.

Every year since 1970, the Malaysian government has chosen a theme for the Independence Day’s celebration.  This year’s theme is Malaysia Where Love Grows (Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta).  That is also my prayer for you, Malaysia.  May you grow in love this year.  

Year Theme
1970 Muhibah dan Perpaduan
Love and Unity
1971 Masyarakat Progresif
Progressive Society
1972 Masyarakat Adil
Fair Society
1973 Masyarakat Berkebudayaan Malaysia
A Society with Malaysian Culture
1974 Sains dan Teknologi Alat Perpaduan
Science and Technology as Tools of Unity
1975 Masyarakat Berdikari
A Self-Reliant Society
1976 Ketahanan Rakyat
Strength of the People
1977 Bersatu Maju
United and Progressive
1978 Kebudayaan Sendi Perpaduan
Culture is the Core of Unity
1979 Bersatu Berdisplin
United and Disciplined
1980 Berdisplin Berbakti
Discipline and Service
1981 Berdisplin Berharmoni
Discipline and Harmony
1982 Berdisplin Giat Maju
Discipline Creates Progress
1983 Bersama Ke Arah Kemajuan
Together Towards Success
1984 Amanah Asas Kejayaan
Honesty Brings Success
1985 Nasionalisme Teras Perpaduan
Nationalism is the Core of Unity
1986 Bangsa Tegas Negara Teguh
Steadfast Society, Strong Country
1987 Setia Bersatu Berusaha Maju
Loyally United and Progressively Working
1988 Bersatu
1989 Bersatu
1990 Berjaya
1991 Wawasan 2020
Vision 2020
1992 Wawasan Asas Kemajuan
Vision is the Basis of Progress
1993 Bersatu Menuju Wawasan
Together Towards Vision
1994 Nilai Murni Jayakan Wawasan
Good Values Makes the Vision a Success
1995 Jatidiri Pengerak Wawasan
Steadfastness Moves the Vision Forward
1996 Budaya Penantu Kecapaian
Culture Determines Achievements
1997 Akhlak Mulia Masyarakat Jaya
Good Values Make a Successful Society
1998 Negara Kita, Tanggungjawab Kita
Our Country, Our Responsibility
1999 Bersatu Ke Alaf Baru
Together Towards the New Millennium
2000–2006 Keranamu Malaysia
Because of you, Malaysia
2007 Malaysiaku Gemilang
My Glorious Malaysia
2008 Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan
Unity Is The Core of Success
2009 1 Malaysia: Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan
1 Malaysia: People First, Performance Now
2010 1 Malaysia: Menjana Transformasi
1 Malaysia Transforming the Nation
2011 1 Malaysia: Transformasi Berjaya, Rakyat Sejahtera
1 Malaysia: Successful Transformations, Prosperous Citizens
2012 55 Tahun Merdeka: Janji Ditepati
55 Years of Independence: Promises Fulfilled
2013 Malaysiaku Berdaulat, Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku
My Sovereign Malaysia, My Native Land
2014 Malaysia, Disini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta
Malaysia, Where Love Grows

credit: wikipedia.org