All of us go through a process of growth and learning.

Our experiences shape us. Our exposure to a variety of issues, good and bad mould us.

This is similar for a clearly defined nation-state such as Sarawak.

Looking back to Sarawak’s origins, it was mostly an area in the southern zone of what is now Sarawak.

James Brooke, a British explorer arrived in Sarawak in 1839 and by September 24 1841, Brunei via a treaty ceded Sarawak to him.

This saw the formation of a newly independent nation, Sarawak. Based on this date Sarawak is 179 years old this year.

Perhaps we should have a new public holiday, called Nation of Sarawak Day on September 24. Oh well, just trying my luck!

Subsequently, the United States and the United Kingdom recognised Sarawak as an independent state.

From being a small area, through various treaties with Brunei, it grew to its current borders up to Lawas and was governed by the Brooke family until 1946.

After that, the Japanese occupied Sarawak for three years.

However, Sarawak was ceded to Britain on July 1 1946 and became a Crown Colony.

The next phase of its history was when it was granted self-government by the British on July 22 1963.

This status was short-lived because it had signed up to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and became a founding partner in the Federation of Malaysia, established on September 16 1963.

The evolution did not end there and as there was a three-year confrontation with Indonesia and also a communist threat until 1990.

I mention the above because, you would be amazed that there are still many Sarawakians unaware about some of these facts.

Through all these trials and tribulations, Sarawak has survived as an entity. Its people have made many sacrifices along the way.

However, since Sarawak became a partner in the Federation it has, as we know, faced many more challenges due to the continuous encroachment and an onslaught by Malayan interest.

The efforts by Malaya to subjugate the people of Sarawak have seen the erosion of its rights and pillaging of its oil and gas resources.

Even more insidious are the attempts to export its negative agenda, such as the lack of religious and racial tolerance to our shores.

I for one feel that while in Sarawak we might not have a perfect system of government (but then who has, look at the USA now) we have leaders who have done a relatively good job under the difficult circumstances to keep the Sarawak way of life and environment peaceful and stable.

From partner status, we have seen our rights being trampled upon and now it is good to see that many people and the Sarawak leaders are making strong efforts to resist and get back what is rightfully ours.

This is not an easy task considering that the parasitic approach of Malaya has made it so used to live off Sarawak’s people and resources.

Weaning it off Sabah and Sarawak’s monies have, as we can see, been met with great resistance.

Many promises had been met by the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) governments, mostly with no positive outcomes.

Our current Prime Minister first became a cabinet minister as Minister of Education in 1974 and was Deputy Prime Minister from 1976 to 1981 and also a Prime Minister for the BN government form from 1981 to 2003.

Including the past one year, that is 30 years at the top in power.

The reason I highlight this is because we have members of the Sarawak opposition parties asking what our current GPS have leaders done to better the lot of Sarawakians for the last 56 years since the formation of Malaysia.

Well, for 30 of those 56 years, it was your current PH leader who was in charge of federal funds, so what was done?

I would say, despite some of the past failings of BN Sarawak they did quite well in developing Sarawak in the face of neglect, mistreatment, infringement and usurpation of resources by Malaya.

So, what difference in treatment can we expect now?

Through these different phases, the people of Sarawak, past and present experienced many aspects of governance.

While the defeat of BN has been not good for the party itself, the reality is that it has provided Sarawak the opportunity to move on to the next phase

It gave BN Sarawak to break free and the opportunity to strike out on its own.

The formation of GPS is a natural progression to the next stage of our development and progress.

It was a courageous step by the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and team to move on.

I do believe that this decision will go down in history as a milestone in the evolution of Sarawak in many forms

Malaya must realise that Sarawak has always been loyal and worked hard to be part of the Federation. The failings are on the part of Malaya by not reciprocating.

While PH Sarawak might point out some failings of BN, I hope they realise they are criticising their leader, the current Prime Minister.

While GPS managed to cut the apron strings from Malayan-based dominance, the opposition in Sarawak got into bed with the very people who oppressed the development of Sarawak.

It is evident now that the current leadership is moving fast forward to bring much development and opportunities to Sarawak, especially in the rural areas to ensure all Sarawakians are treated equally.

The motto of Sarawak is Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti (United, Striving, Serving) and I am sure we can and will live up to it.

At the moment all the people in Miri seem to be awed by the blooming Tacoma trees or the Malaysian ‘Sakura’ as some call it.

It is said that the long stretch of hot weather has stressed the trees and made them bloom spectacularly.

Similarly, we can all come together under the current challenges and ensure that Sarawak also will bloom spectacularly.


The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.