Masing to Sarawakians: Don’t celebrate on Aug 31; it’s not our Independence Day

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, August 14: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing says Sarawakians should not be celebrating on Aug 31 as it has nothing to do with Sarawak.

“August 31 has nothing to do with us. It is Malaya’s Independence Day,” he said in a statement today.

He also questioned the rationale for schools in the state to fly the Jalur Gemilang to commemorate this day. To make matters worse, he claimed, one particular school even committed a historical error when it trumpeted “61 years of Independence”.

“I am surprised that schools in Sarawak are full of flags; and in one place, it says 61 years of Malaysia. Sixty-one years ago, Malaysia didn’t even exist. I think it’s wrong maths and wrong mindset among Sarawakians,” said Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president.

He opined that the state should be celebrating on July 22 instead as that was the day Sarawak was accorded self-governance.

Peninsular Malaysia obtained its independence from the British colonial government on August 31, 1957. Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaysia as an equal partner on Sept 16, 1963. Prior to that momentous occasion, Sarawak was accorded self-governance on July 22, 1963, by the British colonial government to pave the way for the state to join the Federation of Malaysia.

“We can assist them (Peninsular Malaysia) by sending delegates to where the August 31 celebration takes place. Likewise, people in Malaya and Sabah should send delegates to Sarawak to celebrate our Independence Day on July 22.

“Let us be proud of our Independence Day, July 22. Don’t be subservient to others for the wrong reasons. Sarawak, please stand up for our rights and be proud of being Sarawakians,” said Masing. — DayakDaily