KUCHING: Sarawak will celebrate its 40th anniversary of independence in a grand way with about 200 events planned for this year.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will launch the “ruby jubilee” celebration here on May 24.
He would unveil the celebration logo and launch the ruby jubilee song to kick off a series of programmes which would be held from longhouse settlements in the interior to towns and the city over six months.
The independence celebrations coincide with Visit Sarawak Year 2003.
Celebration organising chairman Datuk Salleh Sulaiman said divisional residents and district officers would plan activities for longhouses and villages to involve as many Sarawakians in the celebrations as possible.
The celebrations' theme is “Welcoming Golden Era”.
Salleh, also the Deputy State Secretary, said although the state gained its independence through Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, it was already given self-rule on July 22 of that year.
He said July 22 would be commemorated with several special events, including a parade featuring some 100 contingents at Padang Merdeka here.
Expatriates, all Englishmen, who had served the state administration during the state's transitional self-rule and independence period would be invited to the parade.
A special investiture ceremony would be held on that day, and commemorative medals would be presented to some 750 recipients who had contributed to the state's development in the past four decades.
Salleh said a state dinner would be held at the new tourism complex (former Court House) that night, and all the guests would later adjourn to the nearby waterfront to watch a river float procession along Sarawak River and a fireworks display.
He said Sarawak would stage several national events, including Gawai Open House, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's birthday in Sibu and National Day celebrations in Miri.
“A feature film documenting the state's development and progress since independence is in the pipeline,” he added.