Sabah and Sarawak became trending on Twitter as Malaysia celebrated Malaysia Day

Malaysians celebrated Malaysia Day over the long weekend to commemorate the union of Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore on 16 September 1963.


However, Singapore was expelled in less than two years after the formation of Malaysia in 1965.


Nevertheless, Malaysia Day was first celebrated as a nationwide holiday in 2010, about five decades after Malaysia was formed.


It has been an ongoing issue that the National Day celebrated by the nation on August 31 does not represent the states in East Malaysia. The celebration commemorates the independence of Malaya rather than the formation of the nation.


Therefore, Sabahans and Sarawakians are keener to celebrate Malaysia Day rather than Merdeka Day. Subsequently, the keyword “Sabah and Sarawak” became trending on Twitter on September 16.



Three primary clusters can be spotted in the network of ‘Sabah and Sarawak’ on Twitter. They are blue, orange and green.


The biggest cluster is the blue with @zuraida_my as its main influencer. It is the official Twitter account of Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.



She wished Malaysians a happy Malaysia Day, while embracing Sabah and Sarawak through her tweet. The feedback on the tweet was positive as it received over 3,000 retweets and 3,500 likes.


Ironically, the wish was made on the eve of Malaysia Day (September 15). In this case, it does not matter as the saying goes, ‘it’s the thought that counts’.


Meanwhile, the orange cluster took up 15.92% of the network. It was led by @puneirejang.



The account tweeted that Sabah and Sarawak may not have Gardenia bread, but those states have something that Peninsular Malaysia lack, which is respect. The provocative tweet received over 3,600 likes and almost 1,600 retweets.


The tweet was referencing to the Gardenia bread issue that went viral back in July this year. Then, it was reported that it is difficult to find shops that sell Gardenia bread in East Malaysia. Plus, the price of the bread in the region is about three times more than the selling price in Peninsular Malaysia.


On the other hand, the green cluster was more saturated compared to the other two clusters. It does not have a primary influencer, but interaction between tweets can be witnessed.


The majority of the tweets in this cluster discussed on the formation of Malaysia as they celebrated Malaysia Day.



For example, @NarenMenon1 tweeted that Malaysia was established on September 16, 1963 with the union of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak. But Singapore was expelled from the union on August 9, 1965. Plus, he also pointed out that September 16 is the birthday of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.