SIBU: A public assembly to celebrate Sarawak’s independence from Britain on July 22, 1963 was held peacefully with no untoward incidents reported.
Organised by Sarawak 4 Sarawak (S4) Central Region, a mixed crowd comprising Chinese, Iban and Malay marked the occasion at the town square yesterday.
Also present were 60 members of the SUPP Pelawan branch who were led by chairman, Clarence Ting.
The branch took the opportunity to launch its campaign where everyone wore a yellow T-Shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘I Am Sarawakian.’
“The S4S had a clear message about what they represent,
“The speakers went through the points of the Federation Agreement, one by one, and stated clearly what they wanted to see our local leaders do for Sarawakians,” said Ting.
He said S4S represents a growing self-confidence among Sarawakians,
“We are proud to be who we are, dare to challenge and right what has been wronged.
“Hidup (long live) this movement and this group of committed people.”
On the placard displayed at the rally of “Kami Ukai Kambing” (We are not goats), he said it summed up the mood of Sarawakians.
“We can no longer be docile on the need to uphold pledges made in the Federation Agreement.
“Our Chief Minister asking for 20% of oil royalties represents this changing mood,” he said.
He said the public assembly by S4S was very meaningful as it promotes an awareness of Sarawak history among Sarawakians.
Michael Tiang, the person-in-charge of the ‘I am Sarawakian’ campaign said on July 22, 1963 Sarawak regained her independence when the British colonial government returned administration powers to its people.
“Every Sarawakian shall therefore remember July 22 and celebrate this Independence Day every year.
“SUPP as a Sarawak-based political party will propose to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem that July 22 be declared Hari Sarawak so that the state government will organise Independence Day events to celebrate this important day,” he added.
Tiang said many historical facts on Independence Day were not taught in schools.
He said that the curriculum had failed to present a proper and complete history of Sarawak, in particular that it founded the Federation of Malaysia together with Singapore, Sabah and the Federation of Malaya as an independent and equal partner.
Tiang said Sarawak’s independence on July 22 was vital as it determined Sarawak’s entitlement to many autonomous powers under the Federation of Malaysia.
These autonomous powers should be defended and upheld by each generation of Sarawakians, he added.
The assembly’s organising chairman Tay Swee Teck said S4S is just a slogan and not a non-governmental organisation.
“We do not have any leader. Anybody can be the organising chairman for such events,” he said, adding that they planned to hold another gathering on July 22 at Padang Song Chin Hai, Kuching.