Aug 31 has no meaning for Sarawak, asserts Aspirasi

Lina Soo

KUCHING, July 29: Stop hoodwinking Sarawakians into believing Sarawak is an integral part of ‘Tanah Malaya’, urged Parti Aspiration People’s Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo.

“Sarawak was carved out of the Brunei sultanate on Sept 24, 1841. Before that, there was no Sarawak.

“Sarawak had 100 years of independence and sovereignty with international recognition by Britain and US under Brooke dynastic rule until the Japanese invasion on Christmas Eve 1941,” she pointed out in a statement today.

Soo was responding to the Sarawak government’s enthusiastic launching of Sarawak’s National Month and Fly Jalur Gemilang by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg recently.

She said that celebrating Aug 31 on the occasion of Malaya’s independence was like baking a birthday cake and throwing a party celebration for a neighbour’s birthday.

“In the process, you get no birthday cake, and forget your own birthday is on Sept 24.

“If celebrating your neighbour’s birthday with passion and enthusiasm and forgetting your own birthday and history is not subjugation, what is? This is a weird way of promoting ‘Sarawak First’,” she said.

Elaborating on the history of Sarawak, Soo said when Sarawak was freed from Japanese occupation, Sarawak was annexed to become a British colony on July 1, 1945.

“Sarawak remained a British colony until Sept 16, 1963 when Britain surrendered Sarawak sovereignty directly over to the Federation of Malaya renamed Malaysia.

“A historic milestone towards restoration of Sarawak self-rule was on July 22, 1963 when the British granted administrative self-government but without independence for Sarawak with the appointment of Sarawak’s first Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan,” she added.

July 22, she continued, was gazetted as Sarawak Independence Day as a public holiday during the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s administration.

Soo thus chided certain political parties and politicians who tried to amend the wording of ‘Sarawak Independence Day’ as an insult to the legitimacy of the Sarawak Gazette, and to the memory of the late Adenan.

“Politicians who objected to the naming of the public holiday as Sarawak Independence Day have their own political axes to grind and should be rejected for myopic vision and their disrespect for our Sarawak constitutional powers.

“Tok Nan was a wise and visionary leader, and left his legacy in gazetting Sarawak Independence Day for us to look ahead at the bigger picture for Sarawak,” she emphasised.

The Federation of Malaya, she added, gained independence from Britain on Aug 31, 1957 and Malaya was granted independence and restoration of sovereignty from Britain.

“On that date, there was no Malaysia yet, and Sarawak was a British colony and would remain so until Sept 16, 1963.

“This date Aug 31, 1957 has no meaning for Sarawak,” she reiterated.

In wishing the citizens of Peninsular Malaysia, formerly the Federation of Malaya, a ‘Happy Merdeka Day’ on the occasion of its 63rd independence anniversary, she however reminded that Sarawak has yet to get its national independence and sovereignty restored. —DayakDaily