By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Aug 12: Sarawak will not be forgoing the state-level celebration of National Day in Simanggang this year despite the country facing new challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Aug 31 is a historical date that should be recognised and observed by all Malaysians as our independence day or national day, in that we come together to celebrate what’s great about Malaysia and being Malaysians,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
“We must have one day to be accepted as our national day for all Malaysians even though Sarawak observed many other significant dates including Sarawak Day and Malaysia Day,” he told a press conference at his Ministry’s office at Wisma Baitulmakmur here today.
Abdul Karim made reference to the United States recognising July 4 as its Independence Day as it would be impossible to meet the wishes of 52 states to have its individual independence day.
“Otherwise, there will be disunity and it is similar for Malaysia. That’s why we must have one symbolic date to signify the unity of Malaysia,” he said, quoting historian Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam who said “If there is no Independence Day, then there will be no Malaysia Day”.
Themed ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, he revealed that the National Day 2020 celebration this year will be done on a small scale and in a controlled environment in compliance with all standard operating procedures (SOP) as well as health and safety guidelines issued by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and Ministry of Health (MOH).
“We are aware and very concerned about the Covid-19 situation in the state so all the programmes and activities planned in the day and night will adhere to SOP including crowd control.
“All participants will be screened and capacity in the Civic Centre will be limited while another major programme is planned in the outdoor. All areas in the Simanggang town will be sanitised as well. We will not allow people to crowd or gather in one area,” he explained.
Among the activities to be held over the two-day celebration on Aug 30 and 31 is a special appreciation video entitled “Wira” (Hero) which is dedicated to the frontliners and the government for their sacrifices and perseverance in carrying out their duties for the wellbeing of the people and nation.
To inculcate the spirit of nationhood and love for the country, local artistes will present a medley of patriotic songs such as Inilah Barisan Kita, Bahtera Merdeka, Warisan, Tanggal 31, Setia and Negaraku.
The highlight of the celebration will see Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg joining the Unity Walk with 250 participants for about 2km around Simanggang town on the morning of Aug 31.
On the eve (Aug 30) of the celebration at 7.30pm, there will be a dinner gathering at Hotel Sri Simanggang to be attended by Abang Johari together with all community leaders from around Simanggang.—DayakDaily