KUCHING, Sept 3: Labelling Sarawakians who flew Sarawak’s historical flag bearing the crown as ‘unpatriotic’ was an attempt to blot out Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan’s legacy as the paramount chief of Sarawak.
Highlighting this, Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) party president Lina Soo said that when Ningkan was appointed the first chief minister of Sarawak on July 22, 1963 which heralded the dawn of Sarawak administrative self-government, that this was the national flag.
“For Sarawakians, this very same flag has come to symbolise the Ningkan spirit and his vision for a glorious and prosperous Sarawak.
“Branding this historical flag as a colonial and unpatriotic flag is an attempt to blot out Ningkan’s legacy as paramount Sarawak Chief from July 22, 1963 to Sept 23, 1966, and whose unlawful removal as Chief Minister in 1966 was a black mark in our Sarawak’s history since,” she added in a press statement today.
Soo thus found it comical that Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had branded Sarawakians who flew the state’s historical flag as unpatriotic.
“Datuk Abdul Karim should read and understand Sarawak’s flag history before questioning the loyalty of Sarawakians and then answer to himself who are the people who are truly disloyal to Sarawak,” she advised.
This historical Sarawak flag, she emphasised, was registered under the Flag and Emblem Ordinance, and it was Sarawak’s national flag flown from July 1, 1946 to Aug 30, 1973, making it a total of 27 years that this flag had been flown proudly over Sarawak.
“Does that mean the Sarawak government was unpatriotic and disloyal for 10 years from 1963 to 1973?” she questioned.
“If as Datuk Abdul Karim claimed that this flag is a colonial flag, he must be believing that from 1963 to 1973, Sarawak was a colony under the administration of Malaysia too,” she added.
Soo also stated that today, Sarawak is not independent yet as under international law, component nations of a federation have no sovereignty which is held by the federal government.
She also found it ludicrous that Abdul Karim should coerce Sarawakians to accept Aug 31 as a symbolic day of independence for Sarawak.
“This is distorting history as Aug 31, 1957 was the date Britain granted independence to the federation of Malaya, and there was no Malaysia yet.
“To accept Malaya’s independence date of Aug 31, 1957 as Sarawak’s independence date is to tell Sarawakians that we have indeed been absorbed and colonised by Malaya on Sept 16, 1963,” she alleged.
Soo said that this colonial mindset of Abdul Karim reflected many Sarawakians’ belief that Sarawak had only switched the British colonial ruler for a new colonial master across the South China Sea.
“Who are the real traitors of Sarawak? Are not the betrayers of the Sarawak people the Sarawak politicians who have failed to deliver the promises of Malaysia Agreement (1963)?
“Did the Sarawak government not betray Sarawak by giving 95 per cent of our oil and gas to Petronas to develop Malaya and to fund the corruption in the country? Are not the politicians who ruled Sarawak unpatriotic when resource-rich Sarawak became the poorest nation in the federation? These politicians are the real traitors and betrayers of the Sarawak people,” she hit back.
Soo admitted that it was her and S4S movement members who went around Padungan to install the historical flags to observe July 22 Sarawak Day this year.
She informed that they had visited Padungan police station to seek clarification from the police if there was any prohibition on the possession and display of the historical flag and was assured that there was no law to prohibit the display of any of Sarawak’s registered flags and no offence had been committed.
Meanwhile, Abdul Karim had yesterday (Sept 2), commented about seeing a lot of shophouses flying the old colonial flags and questioned the people’s sense of patriotism for the country.
He felt that people lacked appreciation of the independence that Malaysia had gained now.
Abdul Karim said that Sarawakians, including political leaders, should respect and accept Aug 31 as a symbolic day of independence for Malaysia including Sarawak.
He pointed out that although historically Sarawak only joined Malaysia on Sept 16, it had been agreed upon by Sarawak leaders during that time that Aug 31 is the independence day of Malaysia as a whole.—DayakDaily