KUCHING, July 6: This year’s state-level Sarawak Independence Day celebration will be on a grand scale, with activities to be held starting a week before the big day.
Minister in-charge of the celebration, Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is also Minister of Local Government and Housing, urged Sarawakians, especially those living in and around the city, to participate in any way they could, including organising activities and events to make the celebration merrier.
“I also urge everyone to fly or display the Sarawak flag at your homes and premises as a mark of respect and to commemorate our Sarawak Independence Day from the British government 55 years ago,” he told a press conference after chairing the organising committee meeting at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here this afternoon.
Among the activities and events to be held at Padang Merdeka from July 14 to July 15 is the ‘Unity Futsal Tournament’.
Thirty-two teams will be taking part in this two-day tournament. The first prize is RM3,000 cash, second prize RM2,500, third RM1,500 and fourth RM1,000.
“There would be a mini concert after the finals. Food trucks will also be stationed nearby for the convenience of the people to buy food and drinks,” said Dr Sim, who is expected to officiate at the tournament on July 14.
For the Muslims, a special thanksgiving prayer would be held at Masjid Darul Hana on July 20. Some 5,000 people are expected to join the prayer with Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Dr Sim also urged other religious institutions in the state to hold similar thanksgiving prayers or ceremonies at their respective houses of worship at any time of their own choosing.
“Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) will give them more details,” he said.
On July 21, there will be a Civil Service Recreational and Welfare Club (Maksak) Unity 722 Challenge (MY722C) to be held at the old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building.
The half-day event is open to all Maksak women in the state to compete in the ‘Amazing Race Challenge’-style races. The winner will get a RM600 cash prize.
For distance running enthusiasts, there will be a 722 Sarawak Independence Day Unity Run to be flagged off at the Kuching Waterfront on the morning of July 21. The route for the run includes Kuching Waterfront area, the city area, nearby villages and the Darul Hana Bridge.
“Entry fee is RM60 per person. Each participant will be given a T-shirt and a goodie bag. For more details, go to Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) website at www.dbku.sarawak.gov.my or go to DBKU headquarters.
For the main event on July 22, to be held at the Celebration Square near Jalan Stadium in Petra Jaya, the event proper would start at 9am with a ceremony to be graced by Taib.
“We are expecting about 10,000 people to come, comprising members from various non-governmental organisations, associations, civil servants, and students from primary, secondary and even higher learning institutions among others.
“There will be a choir presentation, raising of the state flag, dance and dramas, and cake-cutting. Abang Johari will give an address at the event. The public is cordially invited to participate,” said Dr Sim.
During the event, some 700 cyclists from the 722 Sarawak Independence Day Unity Ride will also be there to accompany Taib’s and Abang Johari’s motorcade when they arrive at the Celebration Square.
At 8pm on the same day and at the same location, a 722 Unity Concert #ibupertiwiku will be held, featuring performances from local artists and cultural presentations showcasing the various cultures of ethnic groups in Sarawak, said Dr Sim.
He added that entrance is free.
“From July 22 till 29, an Ibu Pertiwiku Exhibition will also be held at the Plaza Merdeka Mall. It will depict the history of early Sarawak during the Brooke era, the formation of Malaysia, the Malaysia Agreement up to the present time.
“I personally encourage teachers to bring their students and members of the public to visit this exhibition so that their students can learn the history of Sarawak. Even local higher learning institutions students should also take this opportunity.
“Our Chief Minister Abang Johari will declare open the exhibition on July 22. There will be pictorial and video presentations for the public to see,” said Dr Sim. — DayakDaily