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** The ad above is taken from last year. We chose not to credit in this scenario due to the sensitivity of this issue.
Last night, we received word of an email from MCMC (Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission) advising all media and brands to remove the word MERDEKA from their materials. The same email, which came in sometime on the evening of 27th August, states that no mention should be made of the 58 years since independence.
We tried calling the number listed there, but no one answered (to be fair, it is Friday prayer time). However, we have asked our friends in media, and received confirmation from 3 separate sources about the authenticity of this email. It’s REAL. For those with friends in media, feel free to ask them. Of course, for obvious reasons, they are to remain anonymous.
But could it be to be more inclusive of Sabah and Sarawak? (UPDATED 6:08pm 28 aug 2015)
Some readers have pointed out that the reasoning for this could be to show a more sensitive approach to Sabah and Sarawak, who didn’t achieve independence on the same day. It’s worth considering, but timing coulda been a bit better no? We’ve had
58 a number of years to fix this and we choose yesterday?!
CampaignAsia managed to get a spokesperson from the MCMC, who stated that the reason was indeed to make 31st August more inclusive for Sabah and Sarawak. They also said our post (thanks for link ugaiz!) did cause alot of confusion and negative sentiment, although they also mentioned “This sentiment is not without basis as the Malaysian government has been acting both directly and indirectly to avert the rally.”
We also found a comment by Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing on the Borneo Post
“There is nothing wrong for Malaya to celebrate its 58th year of independence, and Sarawak and Sabah will celebrate it with them if invited,” However, he said it would be historically wrong if the federal government declared August 31 as Malaysia’s 58th year of independence. “It is therefore wise to omit the words ‘Merdeka’ and ‘58th year of Malaysia’ on August 31. Malaysia’s 52nd year of independence is September 16, 1963 and not August 31, 1957,”. – Borneo Post, August 28, 2015
Other readers are also asking if it’s an advisory or a directive (meaning should, or MUST) – Well, it says SHOULD in the text, so we’re assuming for now that it’s an advisory.
We’ll update this story as it develops (please let us know if you know anything) but in the meantime, we leave it to you guys to figure out what this means.