Independence spirit appears to be waning


KUCHING: There is a fading spirit among Sarawakians when it comes to sharing the results of independence on Hari Kebangsaan, said Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar) president Datuk Othman Abdullah.

He blamed it on the wide gap in the socio-economic development between Sarawak and Malaya.

He said every year since 64 years ago, August 31 was a public holiday in Malaysia to celebrate Hari Merdeka or National Day.

Based on historical facts, however, August 31, 1957 is the day Malaya achieved independence from colonial rule, becoming a new federation while at that time, Sarawak was still a British colony.

“With the advancement of easier access to information, it has become increasingly difficult for the people of Sarawak to feel the spirit of independence to the fullest as their fellow countrymen in Malaya on Merdeka Day.

“Kuala Lumpur has exploited Sarawak’s wealth and resources for the greater development of the states in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said in his Merdeka Day message.

He said Sedar hoped Putrajaya would pay more attention to Sarawak and give it greater access to national development funds of which Sarawak was one of the largest contributors.

“The people of Sarawak has so far tolerated Kuala Lumpur’s hospitality purely in the family spirit.

Othman welcomed the new prime minister’s awareness of the need for all Malaysians to unite under the “Malaysian Family” approach, saying: “Sedar hopes the new prime minister (Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob) will put into practise his words so that we can proudly wish Happy Merdeka, Keluarga Malaysia.”

He said it was very disappointing to see the people’s elected representatives at the federal level focusing more on power struggles by exploiting the health and economic situation of the country which was not improving.

He appealed to all parties to set aside political differences in the interest of the people.

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