Aug 31 should also remember sacrifice of Sarawak Rangers, Iban trekkers

Voon (right) together with Sarawak Association for People's Aspiration (Sapa) president Dominique Ng (centre) and activist Beng Kor during the press conference.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Aug 30: The Aug 31 National Day celebration should also honour the Sarawak Rangers and Iban trekkers for their sacrifice and contribution that led to Malaya gaining independence in 1957.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan said the nation, in particular Sarawakians, should also reflect on Aug 31 for the Sarawakian soldiers such as the Sarawak Rangers and Iban trekkers who fought and lost their lives to maintain the peace.

Without the Iban trekkers and Sarawak Rangers, he believed that the Malayan defence forces would have been helpless in maintaining security in Malaya at the time of unrest.

“Some 60 years later, the federal government seems to have failed Sarawak, not giving its due after its people – the Iban trekkers and Sarawak Rangers – who sacrificed their lives for the independence that Malaya is enjoying now.

“Without the Sarawak Rangers and Iban trekkers assisting Malaya (in the past), I don’t think Malaya would be able to achieve that independence very fast.

“We need to understand that Malaya itself could not defend its own country at the time. Malaya also is not a country that would be able to defend the territories of Sabah and Sarawak against intrusion,” Voon told reporters, here, today.

He cited how some of the war heroes ended up being buried in the peninsula and left forgotten.

Voon said despite achieving independence for so long, no actions were taken to beinf the fallen heroes home until the Sarawak government initiated “Ops Mai Pulai” in 2011 to bring the remains of the Sarawak Rangers and Iban trekkers back to Sarawak.

“Some of their remains were buried just by the roadside in Malaya, left abandoned, not cared for. Is this a good treatment that we should receive from Malaya?

“We have been with Malaya since 1963, nearly six decades now. What good treatment have we received from them?” Voon asked.

He pointed out that most of the Sarawak Rangers and Iban trekkers came from the rural areas and longhouses but until today, many of the areas do not have proper water supply, electricity, medical facilities and road infrastructure.

Voon reminded the federal government not to simply push its responsibility to provide infrastructure and utilities to the state, considering that Sarawak had given so much to the federal government from its oil and gas, as well as taxes.

On another note, he felt that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had missed a chance to gain independence from the Federation of Malaysia, when Parliament failed to amend the Federal Constitution to insert “in pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)” last April.

He said Abang Johari should have declared a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) after failing to insert the intended clause when amending the Federal Constitution, which would be a step closer for Sarawak to gain independence from the Federation of Malaysia.

“It is legal under International Law, the precedence for it and nothing to lose.

“Malaya cannot send their soldiers to get our chief minister, I can tell you that, because the United Nation (UN) will watch. UN Security Council will watch what the federal government will be doing when sending their soldiers here, because the UN Security Council has jurisdiction to send their peacekeeping troops to come here to defend us,” said Voon. — DayakDaily