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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Aug 31: Sarawak joins Peninsular Malaysia in celebrating August 31 as an Independence Day in the spirit of unionhood.
This is the view of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu information chief Dato Idris Buang who explained that when Sarawakians celebrate Aug 31 as Independence Day, it is like the Hawaiians celebrating July 4 with other American citizens even though Hawaii was the last state to join the Federation of the United States of America.
“We celebrate August 31, 1957 as the Day of Independence. This does not mean that we achieved independence on the same day as the West Malaysians. No. We celebrate because of the spirit of unionhood.
“We celebrate with the West Malaysians as Anak Malaysia, signifying our unity,” said Idris in a recorded voice message.
He said Sarawakians celebrate not only August 31 but also July 22 which is Sarawak Day and September 16 which is Malaysia Day.
Sarawakians celebrate July 22 as Sarawak Day to commemorate the British colonial authority handing over administrative power to Sarawakians. Sarawakians celebrate September 16 as Malaysia Day because that was the date Sarawak and Sabah joined the Federation of Malaya States to form Malaysia.
Idris noted September 16 is particularly significant to Sarawakians and Sabahans, while Peninsular Malaysians also celebrate it but on a smaller scale.
“Our mentality must be inclusive, whether you are from Peninsular Malaysia or Sarawak or Sabah. Don’t drill on the question of which day is Independence Day. It is an issue not worth arguing and it will not bring about peace and harmony. Sarawak is in Malaysia and we have been enjoying peace and harmony,” said Idris.
He gave assurance that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) under Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will continue to fight to regain Sarawak’s rights as enshrined under the Malaysia Agreement 1963. This, he said, is happening with the realisation of the State Sales Tax payment and Sarawak’s involvement in oil and gas contracts, among others. — DayakDaily