By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Dec 7: State Reform Party (STAR) held a minute’s silence to mark the 57th anniversary of the death of five nationalists during the Bekenu and Limbang uprising for Sarawak independence on Dec 8, 1962.
Its president Lina Soo said that the brave actions were actually a trilateral independence uprising in Seria (Brunei), Sipitang (Sabah), as well as Bekenu and Limbang in Sarawak.
She added that at 2am on Dec 8, 1962, about 600 villagers from the Bekenu area marched to the police station at Bekenu and without show of force, the police personnel surrendered.
“These brave villagers took over the police station in Bekenu, before they headed off to Limbang.
“While at Bekenu, the villagers then took down the British flag and they raised Tentera Negara Kalimantan Utara (TNKU) flag,” she told a press conference before the minute’s silence at a hotel here today.
She narrated that villagers worked round the clock in shifts to guard the town, making sure everything was calm. There was no rioting, no looting or violence as everyone cooperated.
Soo said Sarawak was independent sovereignty for only six days, from Dec 8 to 14, 1962, until British commandos from Singapore stormed in to free the town and the police station.
Soo said during the shootout, five Kedayan men were killed at the crossfire, identified as Tuan Ibrahim (25), Sarail Suai (25) Tudin Naim (48) and two teenagers, Ali Jumat (18) and Sabtu Amin (15)
She said she is writing a book about the incident in Bekenu, adding that these nationalists will always be remembered.
“To commemorate for their bravery, there is a memorial built for these five Sarawak nationalists who bid for Sarawak independence. We are thankful for these five nationalists on their heroic acts and their ultimate sacrifices,” she said. — DayakDaily