‘We respect Aug 31 but…’


(FMT) – Sarawakians respect Aug 31 but it is not their independence day, and ‘now Malaya identifies somethings that are not connected with Sabah and Sarawak’. 

KUCHING: As Communications and Multimedia Minister Shabery Cheek compels Malaysians to “display” patriotism by standing up in cinemas to the national anthem and fly the Jalur Gemilang in conjunction with Merdeka Day, newly ‘awakened’ Sarawakians are taking a ‘respectful’ stand.

They are saying that Aug 31 is the day Federated Malaya secured its freedom from colonial rule.

And like the United States of America, Federated Malaya had “only much later annexed” then independent Sabah and Sarawak via a Malaysian Agreement signed on Sept 16, 1963.

Righfully then, Sept 16 should be the “more” celebrated national day and Sarawak’s July 22 as the day the state received its independence.

If there were arguments over this in the past, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s presence and endorsement of Sarawak’s Independence Day celebrations on July 22 recently has put an end to this, opined some to FMT.

Said Douglas Bujong 34 a technician from Serian: “Aug 31 should be the date of independence for Malaya, not Sarawak.

“That is recognized in our history annals. So Sarawak should not be involved at all with this date.

“I am very happy the state government has recognised July 22 as an important date for Sarawakians.

“Sarawak gained its freedom from the British on July 22, 1963. It’s a part of Sarawak identity.”

Kuching-based Joseph Gee, 39 shared his view, adding that Sarawak’s history has lived in the shadow of Malaya’s.

A sales consultant Gee said Sarawak should celebrate its own Independence Day as a “reminder to the new generation of “our true history”.

“July 22 celebrations was great, both as a way to celebrate and also to remind the newer generation.

“Once we know our history better, then we can learn from it. It’s important that we Sarawakians know our actual history,” said Gee.

Edgar Ong, a 50-year-old entrepreneur here, however believes that the apt national conciliation day for Malaysians to celebrate is Sept 16.

“Aug 31, 1957 is Malaya Independence, not for Sabah and Sarawak, for us, we should celebrate on Sept 16, formation of Malaysia. From past experience, Malaya has no interest in us.