ALTHOUGH this year’s Sarawak Day may not be accompanied by huge celebrations or events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is certainly still a day of great significance for all Sarawakians.

It is a day to reflect upon and appreciate Sarawak’s history and the contributions of its past leaders, as well as the state’s rich culture and uniqueness.

In conjunction with this special day, several business chambers and entrepreneurs have shared their hopes and aspirations for Sarawak.

Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum

Sarawak Day falls on July 22 each year. We are born into different ethnicities, some before and mostly after July 22, 1963. Politically, we pursue varying routes, but all in the name of wanting to make Sarawak great.

Let us therefore, for once, forget our differences and unite in the love of being Sarawakians. Happy Sarawak Day.

Datuk Richard Wee

Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president Datuk Richard Wee

Celebrating Sarawak Day is an opportune time for us to appreciate the blessings we have enjoyed since independence. Sarawak is a beautiful place with wonderful people, together with our unique Sarawak culture.

I hope that we are able to achieve our quest led by our Chief Minister in achieving financial independence and autonomy so that we can develop Sarawak in accordance with the vision and aspiration of the people of Sarawak.

Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGCCI) secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

I hope that all Sarawakians, especially the politicians, can make a conscientious effort in upholding and maintaining the racial and religious harmony in the state.

Sim Kiang Chiok

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Sim Kiang Chiok

Sarawak Day is very significant as it can be considered as our Independence Day. Sarawak Day reminds us that we are an independent state and we formed Malaysia with the other countries in the Federation.

We have our Malaysia Agreement signed in 1963 (MA63) and in it, it was agreed that we have autonomous rights in governing our own state. We formed Malaysia to improve our security; to create a bigger economy market to improve our standard of living.

Olivia Ting

Olivia Ting, general manager and executive director of Meritin Hotel

I hope that our people will remain united in our unique diversities in racial harmony, religious understanding, and appreciation of each other’s cultures.  I am hopeful that our state will emerge from this storm in unity as we continue to progress in peace, prosperity, and harmony. Happy Sarawak Day!

Desmond Liew

Desmond Liew, owner and managing director of Le Parlour Café

I hope for Sarawak’s economy to recover and do better after our economy restarted. For so many to be affected during this Covid-19 pandemic, it is fairly certain that we have to take care of each other and we can start by buying from local shops and small individual businesses.

As consumers, as we start to go out, we have to take precautions such as keeping good personal hygiene. We as a whole have to aspire to overcome this pandemic and this economic woe.

Fion Wong

Fion Wong, founder of Ruffcutts Borneo Pet Grooming and Boarding

I hope Sarawak will continue to be a harmonious and diverse society, adapting to a forward moving mindset to cultivate growth and development. Happy Sarawak Independence Day!

Brangka Munan

Brangka Munan, managing director of Mucow Malaysia Sdn Bhd

In my field of agriculture, I do hope that the current modernisation goals of the government are successful. We have an immense wealth of land and now we have to unlock its potential. Several programmes are already underway and I am personally involved in my own small way and working very hard to make it a reality. We need to change the perception of agriculture and land-based industries.

We need to see more opportunities for Sarawakians to upskill into better paying skilled jobs. I’m concerned that we have a growing number of urban poor in the cities who have left the rural areas in search of opportunities in the city. These individuals are a huge asset to us and must be trained well. Modernisation of agriculture would help to reverse this trend.

I also hope that we continue with our Sarawakian culture of tolerance, understanding, and respect for people’s culture and religion. I hope that we continue to be the model of harmonious multiculturalism as we have been for many years now.