KUCHING, July 21: State Reform Party (STAR) believes that Sarawakians were not ready to govern Sarawak in 1963 but they are ready now.
STAR president Lina Soo held the view that the idea of Sarawakians governing Sarawak was envisaged when Sarawak formulated its very first Constitution.
“Sarawakians were not ready in 1963, but I believe that today many Sarawakians are politically matured, and ready to helm Sarawak into a new era of progress and development as was envisaged in 1941 when Sarawak was granted its first Constitution,” said Soo in a press statement.
On Sarawak Independence Day which falls on tomorrow (July 22), she said it started as a spark in 2013 by a small group of Sarawak nationalists who commemorated July 22 with a parade at Central Padang Kuching.
The small gesture has now mushroomed into a Sarawak affair with politicians, schools and civil liberty groups and also the Sarawak government celebrating it on a grand scale this year, Soo noted.
“We must be thankful that it was the Sarawak government under former (Chief Minister Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem who was the driver behind the momentum to declare it a Sarawak holiday and had it gazetted as Sarawak Independence day in 2016.
“Even though July 22, 1963 is not truly the independence day of Sarawak, it was indeed a milestone in Sarawak history that for the first time a Sarawak politician namely Stephen Kalong Ningkan was appointed to be the first Chief Minister to lead the internal self-government of Sarawak.”
She said even though Kalong Ningkan was the first Chief Minister, it was still not independence for Sarawak yet as Sarawak remained a British crown colony with sovereignty held by Britain, until 16 September 1963 when the British surrendered Sarawak sovereignty to the Federation of Malaya which was subsequently renamed Malaysia.
“Nevertheless, former Chief Minister Adenan Satem had reflected the foresight and aspiration of many Sarawakians in calling July 22 as Sarawak Independence Day in line with Sarawak’s Nine Cardinal Principles of 1941, which stated that Sarawak shall be granted self-rule when the people are ready and politically matured.”
Soo envisioned one day Sarawak Independence Day will truly be a day of celebration when full self-rule is restored. — DayakDaily