KUCHING (Bernama) – Heavy downpour since early morning did not dampen the spirits of about 2,000 people from all walks of life attending the Sarawak Independence Day celebration at Padang Merdeka yesterday.
Dressed in traditional attire and carrying Sarawak flags, participants from the Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (SAPA) and Sarawak for Sarawakian (S4S) gathered as early as 8am at Padang Jubli and Padang Rugbi, Song Kheng Hai before marching to Padang Merdeka.
SAPA spokesman Peter John said the gathering was held to create awareness on the correct understanding of Sarawak’s independence from the British colonisation and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63).
“Looking back at our struggle in 2013 to fight for the Sarawak Independence Day celebration then, many people thought our action was crazy.
“Now, our effort was not in vain when the state government understands the importance of the day, and declared July 22 as a public holiday,” he told Bernama yesterday.
Peter also hoped that the history of the state government will be taught in the school syllabus so that the younger generation can fully understand and appreciate the history of Sarawak.
Sarawak Day or Sarawak Independence Day is observed on July 22 every year. Sarawak achieved self-governance on July 22, 1963, from the British.
July 22 is a very meaningful date for Sarawakians as they share together their love for the Land of Hornbills.
Bintulu hosted this year’s Sarawak Day celebration, which was officiated by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at Jalan Lapangan Terbang Awal yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, Abang Johari said Bintulu was chosen as the host since Sarawak developed its own organized legal system, and also held the first General Council conference in Bintulu on September 8, 1867, during the Brooke era.
The establishment of a day to recognise the culture and history of Sarawak was aimed at making the state respected in political and economic spheres by all Malaysians.