KUCHING, July 21: As Sarawak celebrates its 58th anniversary of independence, Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang’s wish is that the State will have one-third representation of all the seats in Parliament.
“Once we have that, I am sure everything else we have been fighting for as Sarawakians, including increased autonomy for education and health will naturally fall into place,” he said in his Sarawak Day message today.
Lo mentioned that the official Sarawak Independence Day public holiday was gazetted by the government of Sarawak in 2016 to raise awareness about Sarawak’s past and contributions of its past leaders.
“This is a day we should cherish and hold pride in for our Fair Land Sarawak. This is a day for us to hold our heads high and be counted as Sarawakians First. We are in a unique State with rich resources; something we should be thankful for.
“Sarawak is host to the highest variety of ethnic races and yet we show the world how close knit we all are. We are able to live, work and celebrate our different cultures together, joining in the many different festivals,” he added.
He further said Sarawakians are able to commemorate such an occasion due to having a stable State government that promotes peace and harmony.
He expressed gratitude that under Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s leadership, Sarawak has managed to secure five per cent sales tax on Sarawak’s petroleum products worth USD3.9 billion.
Additionally, he said the 18-point agreement which was used in the drafting of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) detailed the wishes of the State’s forefathers and the people of Sarawak on the principles and aspirations by which Malaysia should be formed.
“Among the 18 points were freedom of religion, freedom of language and freedom of worship. English shall be the language of instruction in schools. Land and resources are 100 per cent Sarawak’s. All government agencies shall be headed by Sarawakians.
“Our history books should state that Sarawak did not join Malaysia. On July 22, 1963, the British granted Sarawak self-government on the condition that it joined Malaya, North Borneo and Singapore to form Malaysia.
“Prior to the 18-point agreement, the White Rajahs of Sarawak had drafted the nine cardinal principles by which Sarawak shall be governed. The 18-point agreement is similar in content to the nine cardinal principles but strengthened. Sabah had their 20-point agreement along the same line as well. This was the agreement we entered into before we signed on the dotted line to join Malaya, Singapore, Sabah (then North Borneo) to form The Federation of Malaysia,” he elaborated.
Lo asserted Sarawak is an important part of the formation of Malaysia as it is not one of the 13 states in Malaysia but instead, one of the three founding partners — Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak — that formed this country.
“If there is no Sarawak, there is no Malaysia. This is why July 22 and the MA63 are so important to us,” he said. — DayakDaily