Batu Kitang state assemblyman; Yb Ir Lo Khere Chiang on Sarawak day
To my fellow Sarawakians, Happy Sarawak Independence Day.
Sarawak Independence Day, also known as Hari Kemerdekaan Sarawak, is a holiday observed on 22nd July every year by Sarawak in Malaysia, celebrating the establishment and her independence on the 22nd of July, 1963.
The official Sarawak Independence Day public holiday was gazetted by the government of Sarawak in 2016 to raise awareness about Sarawak’s past and contributions of its past leaders.
This is a day we should cherish and hold pride in for our fair land Sarawak. This is a day for us to hold our heads high and be counted as Sarawakians first.
We are in a unique state with rich resources; something we should be thankful for.
Sarawak is host to the highest variety of ethnic races and yet we show the world how close knit we all are. We are able to live, work and make merry together, joining in the many different festivals.
This is the 57th independence anniversary of Sarawak and in all these years, we have been together through rain and shine like a big family.
However, we only got to celebrate Sarawak Independence Day when it was officially gazetted in 2016. Nevertheless, it is better to be late than never for us to be able to celebrate this important occasion and be proud of this day.
We must ask ourselves why we are able to commemorate such an occasion. This is due to us having a stable government that promotes peace and harmony.
57 years is a long time and we have come a long way with big transformations in all parts of Sarawak.
We sincerely believe that the new Federal government will keep its word and return to us what is due to us. We can do much better and enjoy better infrastructure for the whole of Sarawak if the Federal government makes good the deal to return what belongs to us.
On our 57th anniversary, my hope is to see that the Federal Government will look into making sure that we have one-third representation of all the seats in parliament.
When we formed Malaysia with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah, Malaya, we were all given one-third of MP seats. After Singapore opted out in 1965, the seats that belonged to Singapore were all taken by Malaya.
Our Chief Minister, YAB Datuk Patinggi Dr. Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Johari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg has rightfully stated a few days ago that we will continue to fight for our rights in restoring the allocation of one-third representation for East Malaysia. CM Abang Jo warned that without the one-third, the constitution can be amended with more power distribution for Peninsular Malaysia.
Our first prime minister, the father of Malaysia, Tuanku Abdul Rahman had said, The days of imperialism are gone and it is not the intention of Malaya to perpetuate or revive them when the Borneo territories become part of Malaysia, They will cease to be colonies, they will be partners of equal status, no more or no less than the other states.
But saying is one thing. Malaya since then has not treated us fairly. We got little from our own oil and gas, a mere 5 percent while we lost autonomy in our Education, our Health and even Security. We used to have our own Sarawak Rangers to patrol our borders and their services have sadly long been dispensed of.
On 22nd July, 1963, the Governor of Sarawak, Sir Alexander Waddell, issued a proclamation to form the first Supreme Council with the appointment of Stephen Kalong Ningkan, the chairman of Sarawak National Party (SNAP), as the first chief minister of Sarawak. The other members of the supreme council were Abdul Taib Mahmud, James Wong Kim Min, Dunstan Endawie Anak Enchana, Awang Hipni Pengairan Anu and Teo Kui Seng. This marked the end of colonial rule and birth of Sarawak as a self governing country.
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