Sapa calls for recognition for July 22 as Sarawak Independence Day instead of Aug 31 Malaya Independence Day

Ng (seated centre) together with Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan (seated second right) and activist Beng Kor (seated second left) during a photo session after the press conference.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Aug 30: After some 50 years of being in the Federation of Malaysia, the federal government still failed to give due recognition to Sarawak for its massive contribution to the federation.

Even after Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over as the new government with Sarawakians putting much hope that Malaysia Baru would finally recognise Sarawak’s contribution, it still failed to do so.

Because of that, Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) president Dominique Ng opined that it might be a good idea for Sarawak to be independent from the federation.

“We are constantly being told and taught our history wrongly. I’m sure tomorrow (Aug 31) many will be talking about Malaysia happily celebrating its National Day when it is totally wrong because Sabah and Sarawak were not part of Malaysia on Aug 31, 1957. That is a fact which I thought the PH government would have rectified,” he told a press conference here this afternoon.

“Everybody thought that the new government, the Malaysia Baru would duly respect history and restore everything to what it ought to be, but sadly after more than a year now, many of the promises they have given to us, none has been delivered. It’s a very sad fact and what they didn’t promise they try to shove down our throats, like the Khat and Jawi issue,” he said.

“I think the Malaysia Baru is not a new Malaysia but the old Malaysia or BN 2.0, whatever it is,” he added.

Ng pointed out that even the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was having a hard time being negotiated in the Parliament and has not been fulfilled since, despite being in PH’s Manifesto as one of its promises for Sarawak and Sabah.

“Currently we are in Malaysia, but sadly all that were promised to us under MA63 have not been fulfilled and so much so that we feel that perhaps Sarawak should be independent after all because in those days before Malaysia was formed on Sept 16, 1963, there were many negotiations and promises that were given,” he said.

“We are now beginning to understand the true history of those days. It is clear that Sarawak was not given its choice to determine what its future ought to be,” he continued.

“We now know the Cobbold Commission Report did not really get the real message of the choice of the people of Sarawak, and Sabah for that matter. There were hundreds and thousands of Sarawakians who opposed the formation of Malaysia in those days,” he added.

On the reason many Sarawakian leaders kept quiet despite knowing that it was not right over the past five decades, Ng emphasised that back then, those who were brave enough to voice out against the federal government would be arrested and locked up.

As such, he called upon the federal and state government to give due respect to what he called the true history of Malaysia and to celebrate the actual days correctly so that the people and especially the young and future generations would know the truth.

“I would like therefore to take issue with the continual and wrong celebration of Aug 31 as the National Day of Malaysia. Aug 31 is only Merdeka Day of Malaya and not otherwise. To continue to celebrate Aug 31 as a National Day of Malaysia is to continue to insult Sarawak and Sabah by ignoring the roles and contributions of the people of Sarawak and Sabah,” he stressed.

“I would like to remind the federal government that Sarawak has contributed massively to the Federation of Malaysia in its oil and gas, and taxes, and until now despite promises written in black and white in their (PH) manifesto, the promised oil and gas royalty, and the taxes collected from us have not been returned to Sarawak. I’m reminding the PH government, the so called new Malaysia government,” he said.

The federal and state governments, he emphasised, should give full recognition to the following dates as their respective independence days – Aug 31, 1957 for Malaya; Aug 31, 1963 for Sabah; and July 22, 1963 for Sarawak.

“So there are three independence days that we ought to celebrate and given proper recognition. Tomorrow is only the independence day for Malaya and that’s why one of our banners here says Happy National Day to all Malayans. Because that is the only nation that was formed on Aug 31,” he said.— DayakDaily