TWO more days until Sarawak welcomes its first official “Sarawak Day” celebration, commemorating the day it attained self-government from the British on July 22nd, 1963.
The state government is planning a state-wide celebration in conjunction with the landmark event this coming Friday which has also been declared as a State public holiday.
Kuching, Sibu and Miri are just some of the cities and districts in Sarawak that will hold their very own Sarawak Day celebration. The state government has even allowed Sarawak based NGOs to commemorate July 22 with their own activities as long as they were within the confines of the law. This move is lauded as a true show of unity and spirit of togetherness by the Sarawak State Government by all quarters.
However, some irresponsible groups are taking this opportunity to mar the celebration by planning activities calling for Sarawak secession from Malaysia and incite racial tensions. Others plan to hijack the celebrations and use it as a platform to further their political agenda.
Case in point is the social activist group Sarawak 4 Sarawakians which application to celebrate July 22 in Serian had been blocked by the authorities recently. Sources believe that the groups’ ideology and motives for the celebration is to promote its brand of ‘Sarawak Independence Day’ and ultimately secession of Sarawak from Malaysia.
It is important to note that the state is commemorating its self-government by a Sarawakian from the British, and it is not to celebrate the day Sarawak gained its independence. Arguably, Sarawak’s true ‘Independence Day’ is on September 16 1963, with the swearing in of Sarawak’s first governor replacing Sir Alexander Waddell (the last British Governor). However, best leave the technicalities and legality of the matter to the experts.
The important thing is to uphold the spirit of the Sarawak Day celebration, a day where Sarawakians everywhere honour past leaders who had sacrificed for the state’s independence, and for us to unite towards making a brighter future for our generation and for generations to come.
Come, let us celebrate Sarawak Day together, as proud Sarawakians and Malaysian.
Maryam M. Richardson is an independent political analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly her personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.