SARAWAKIANS must remain united and continue to protect their beloved Sarawak, says Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
“To all Sarawakians, I call upon all of us to stick together to protect our fair land Sarawak, and in all that we do, we must put ‘Sarawak First’. Happy 57th Sarawak Independence Day,” he said in his Sarawak Day message.
“(On this day July 22) it’s also a time to honour our forefathers, who fought for our independence and self-governance, and to remind the younger generation of their contributions,” said Masing, the Deputy Chief Minister.
“From my perspective, (the) Sarawak Independence Day celebration should raise awareness about Sarawak’s historic past and for Malaysians to be reminded of the early process of independence for Sarawak, besides inculcating (a) sense of patriotism among Sarawakians in the context of Malaysia.”
Sarawak was granted self-governance on July 22, 1963, but it was not until May 2016 when then Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem declared July 22 a public holiday.
Masing said before this, Sarawak Independence Day was forgotten in Malaysia’s history as the Malaysia Day narratives were dominated by stories of the independence movement in the Peninsular.
“Many may not be aware of the significance of this date but on July 22, 1963, Sarawak attained self-government from the British Empire and remained self-governing until Sept 16, 1963 when it formed Malaysia together with North Borneo (Sabah), Singapore and Malaya.
“It is thus very important for all Malaysians to be aware of this date in order to have a better understanding of the position of Sarawak before Malaysia was formed,” he stressed.