Article back in 30 August 2012:
55 years and counting. Independence Day stamp issues has always been special.
Technically 31 August was the independence day for Malaya. Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963. Thus the early stamp issues’ label on Malaysia’s Independence Day was not accurate.
Nowadays the day is known simply as Hari Kebangsaan (National Day) which is more reflective. For the first time in history 16 September 2010 was a Public Holiday to celebrate Malaysia Day! It is significant as it is an acknowledgement of the actual day Malaysia was formed. We still get to keep 31 August Public Holiday! Did you know that next year (2013) Malaysia will celebrate 50 years of formation! I am expecting quite a celebration and of course a good stamp issue.
Here are some interesting observations on National Day related stamp issues:
(1) 31 August 1957 was the first Independent Malaya stamp issue!
(2) After the independence of Malaya, only one commemorative set was issued in 1958 to commemorate the 1st Anniversary of Independence.
(3) Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963. The interesting thing is that the envelopes were prepared for 31 August 1963 which was supposed to be the date (which was already a postponement). As the final date was postponed yet again to 16 September 1963, hasty stickers were made and applied on the envelopes. Nowadays the FDCs cancelled in Singapore is very much sought after. North Borneo cancellations are popular too as North Borneo is now known as Sabah.
(4) It ws only in 1967 that a set was issued to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Independence.
(5) The National Definitives (Butterflies) with the denominations of 25 cents, 30 cents, 50 cents and 75 cents were issued on 31 August 1970!
(6) In 1973 a set of stamps was issued to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Malaysia. However the issue date was on 31 August 1973! I suppose it should have been 16 September 1973!
(7) Strangely on 31 August 1980, a Submarine Cable Project stamp set was issued instead of a National Day issue. In those days the Post Office actually opens on public holidays if there is a stamp issue on that day.
(8) The next year on 31 August 1981 the same thing happened again. This time, the stamp issue was on the 100th Anniversary of Sabah. It was more fitting, however it was still not a National Day issue.
(9) On 31 August 1982, the country celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Independence and issued the first miniature sheet in philatelic history.
(10) On 16 September 1983, the stamp issue was again not related to the formation of Malaysia but a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Malaysian Armed Forces. My FDCs were cancelled in MINDEF (Ministry of Defence).
(11) The next real National Day issue was on 31 August 1988. The stamp issue commemorated the 25th Anniversary of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. Again the date was not accurate. It should have been 16 September 1988. However in those days, 16 September was not widely celebrated. I have a rare special set of FDCs with Kota Kinabalu and Kuching cancellations.
(12) 30 August 1991, a day before National Day, a stamp issue on the Past Prime Ministers of Malaysia was issued. This issue is very popular and is still in demand. This was to be the start of the issue of patriotic related issues for the National Day celebrations.
(13) 2002! Yes it was 11 years later that a National Day related stamp set was issued. This was the Malaysian Unity Series 1 issued on 24 August 2002! Today (30 August 2012), 10 years later, Malaysian Unity Series 2 is released!
(14) On 19 August 2003, a set of stamps and miniature sheet were issued to celebrate the 46th Independence Day. The 30 sen stamp was in the lime light for having too few stripes! The official response was that the flag was fluttering thus some of the stripes could not be seen. Anyway, it is a very nice issue.
(15) 31 August 2007 was the 50th Anniversary of Independence. The stamps, booklet and miniature sheet were very well designed! It was a very popular stamp issue!
(16) On 31 August 2009, the first “One Malaysia” stamps, booklet and miniature sheet were issued. A special launch cancellation was made available in Pasar Seni Kuala Lumpur just opposite the General Post Office.
(17) For the first time in history, a National Day related theme was issued way after National Day. This time the “One Malaysia” series 2, was issued only on 10 November 2012! Strange!
(18) In 2011, there was no National Day issue. However a first in philatelic history, the 1957 Merdeka stamp and FDC images were reproduced in the Malaysia – Indonesia Joint Issue. The 1957 Merdeka stamp image was reproduced on the Malaysia 90 sen stamp and the Indonesian 2500 Rupiah stamp number 7/8. The image of the 1957 Merdeka FDC was reproduced on the back of the Pos Malaysia FDC envelope.
(19) That brings us to today! Today’s stamp issue (30 August 2012) was again on the topic of Malaysian Unity. Thus the “Series 2” label.
There you have it, all the 19 National Day related issues. If you are keen to start a National Day collection series, it will not be hard as most of the issues are available at an affordable price.
You can see most of the images in my gallery. Some are still being loaded. If you need an image, just drop me a message. If you know of any issues or trivia related to the issue, do drop me a comment.
I have a FDC and a Folder on offer from the National Day to Malaysia Day! Check out my listing in eBay.com.my.
Updated 26 August 2013:
To continue the list:
(20) This year, the Merdeka topic is actually Museums and Artifacts! The issue will be launched in the National Museum (Muzium Negara).
I will be featuring photos from the recent Tri-nation Exhibition on private Merdeka covers. Keep watching this space!