MIRI: July 22 should be gazetted as a public holiday in Sarawak to officially recognise that day when Sarawak attained its independence from British rule.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) information chief Adam Yii yesterday said the state government had the right to make a declaration to turn July 22 into a public holiday to reflect the importance of that day.
“That date in 1963 was when Sarawak became a nation for a brief period of time before it joined hands with Sabah, Malaya and Singapore to form Malaysia.
“By declaring July 22 as an annual public holiday, Sarawak will give historical significance to the 1963 event,” he said when commenting on the growing voice calling for official celebration of the event.
Yii said that date should be included in our history books.
The SUPP has appealed to the state police to allow a public parade to be staged in state capital Kuching to celebrate the day when Sarawak attained independence from the British.
SUPP secretary general Datuk Sebastian Ting said that not many people in the country or in the state knew about the historical date.
“July 22, 1963 is the day Sarawak was granted independence from the British rule. Aug 31, 1957 was the date that Malaya gained independence from the British rule.
“And Sept 16, 1963 was the day when Malaya came together with Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia via the signing of the Malaysia Agreement,” he said.
“For us in Sarawak, all the three dates above are important. However, very few people realise or even know about the significance of July 22,” he added.
“A group of NGOs was planning to hold a public parade in Kuching but the police have rejected their application,” Ting said, adding that SUPP urged the police to allow the parade as it would be a peaceful event meant to celebrate a historical date.
He said the police in Kuching cited traffic congestion as a reason for refusing the permit.
Ting appealed to the state police to allow a simple public celebration tomorrow so that the date would not be forgotten.
Yii said that there was a growing voice among Sarawakians for more efforts to be taken to preserve the rights of Sarawak within Malaysia.
This was a healthy development as it portrayed a growing sense of love for Sarawak and also Malaysia, he added.