Restore Sarawak rights or risk a secession movement says ex-DAP-PKR man

(The Star) – Celebrating Sarawak Day, Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) has urged the Federal Government to restore the state’s rights and status under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or face rising independence sentiment among Sarawakians.

“We will fight to get back what belongs to Sarawak, and we will not cease until we receive it,” said Sapa president Dominique Ng.

“We are not just talking about the 20% petroleum royalty, which, even though it was promised by Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto, it is unable to fulfil.

“We are talking about taking back everything that belongs to Sarawak. If they don’t return what we want, independence is always an option.

“The independence movement has already started here,” he told a crowd gathered at Padang Merdeka here on Monday (July 22) to mark the state’s independence day that was organised by Sapa and the Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) movement.

“We are not talking about being seditious or breaking up any country; we are talking about gaining our freedom,” Ng added.

Meanwhile, balloons were released to mark the occasion, followed by a flag-raising ceremony and the singing of the pre-1973 state anthem, Fair Land Sarawak.

Calling the event a “tremendous success”, Ng said this was the first time the NGO was given permission by the state authorities to hold the celebration at Padang Merdeka.

“This is most symbolic because it was here that Sarawak and Malaysia were born.

“To us, this is our day, and many Sarawakians are now realising that this is the most important day for Sarawak,” he told reporters.

Sarawak Day, which falls on July 22, marks the day the state gained self-government from British colonial rule in 1963, two months before the formation of Malaysia.

It was declared a state public holiday by the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem in 2016.

Meanwhile, the official state celebration took place in Bintulu with various events from July 20 to 22, including a Kamek Sayang Sarawak (I Love Sarawak) concert and a Sarawak Day run.

The celebration culminated in the Sarawak Day rally at the Bintulu Old Airport on Monday (July 22), attended by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and other state dignitaries.

A week-long Sarawak Day exhibition is also being held at Naim Paragon Bintulu from July 22 to 28, covering Sarawak’s history and development over the years.