It’s the national month and while most Malaysians are preparing to celebrate the National Day, several Sarawakians felt that there’s no need for them to celebrate National Day on 31 August.
According to The Borneo Post, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) assistant publicity and information secretary Lo Khere Chiang said that some Sarawakians thought that National Day is meant to commemorate the declaration of ‘Merdeka’ (Independence) of Malaya, and has nothing to do with Sarawak.
Lo said he respected the gazetted dates to commemorate Sarawak’s independence and the formation of Malaysia but found no reason to celebrate National Day.
He explained that Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963, while Sarawak achieved self-governance on 22 July 1963.
“We recognise the formation of Malaysia. I don’t see why we should celebrate ‘Merdeka Day’. Malaya has taken all my oil (and gas resources) and has not treated me fairly,” he said.
“I would celebrate the independence day of Sarawak, and we celebrated it grandly in Sibu this year, and I support it,” he added.
Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo said 31 August 1957 was the date Malaya was granted independence from Britain, opining that it had nothing to do with Sarawak.
“Sarawak was under the British colony until 16 September 1963. So no, there is no need for Sarawak to celebrate Malaya Independence Day,” she said.
Meanwhile, activist Voon Shiak Ni called on the Sarawak state government to look into scrapping 31 August as a celebration in Sarawak.
“Historically, August 31 had no significance to Sarawak’s independence, and it’s better to be crystal clear about that; better for the understanding and appreciation of the history of Sarawak by all Sarawakians.”
“We have been confused for more than 60 years and we need to move forward for all Sarawakians to take pride in the history of their own state and also the leaders of the state who fought and sacrificed for the independence of the state,” she said.
She added that all the ‘Bulan Kemerdekaan’ (National month) activities being carried out throughout August should be conducted in July for Sarawak instead.
“This is so that the younger generation can learn more about patriotism and celebrate Sarawak Independence Day,” she said.
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