‘Sarawak Gemilang 50 Tahun’ expo opens until Sept 30

OUR HISTORY: Salahuddin and Norkiah contemplate a picture of the first State Council members. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

A WALK INTO THE PAST: Salahuddin (third right) shares a light moment with Awang Tengah (far right) as they admire a model of a bus (a public transport) in the early days – post independence. Also seen are (from left) Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Taib, Ragad and Norkiah. — Photo by Tan Song Wei

KUCHING: The ‘Sarawak Gemilang 50 Tahun’ exhibition which showcases the state’s development and progress since Merdeka will open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday over a two-month period until Sept 30.

Held at the old courthouse or Sarawak Tourism Complex here in conjunction with the state’s 50th anniversary celebration, the exhibition attempts to depict the efforts of the people to realise the dream of a better life after the state gained independence through Malaysia in 1963.

Head of State Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin, accompanied by his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah yesterday officiated at the launch of the exhibition before Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi as well as state dignitaries.

This followed a special event at the Kuching Waterfront earlier to commemorate the state’s independence.

Minister-in-charge of the exhibition is Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Resource Planning and Environment Second Minister.

The exhibition on Sarawak’s story of development was themed ‘Moving Farther, Moving Up and Moving Forward’.

“This exhibition is a testimony of the people’s resolve to lift themselves out from the shackles of poverty to leap forward. Of course we all know that July 22 is a significant date for Sarawak for it was on this day 50 years ago that Sarawak gained internal self-government from the British colonial government after 200 years of rule.

“Undoubtedly, we have been able to achieve enormous economic success and strong political stability due to sheer tenacity to pursue common goals. This can be summarised with our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which has risen from RM688 in the 60s and 70s (early years of Merdeka) to RM43,000 now.

“Generally, the people comprising some 30 ethnic groups are getting more confident to achieve anything, no matter how grand the idea once they set sight on them,” Taib said in a public message published in the exhibition souvenir programme.

Awang Tengah who is also Public Utilities Minister, in his message, highlighted that the modern Sarawak would not be what it is if past leaders and society had not been able to work together in harmony to achieve the current level of peace and prosperity in the state.

“This focus on reminiscing about the past is pertinent to further enhance understanding and knowledge on the struggles of our forefathers by our younger generation. This younger generation will be the people to reap the benefits of development and they need to appreciate the hard work and sacrifices of past leaders to bring Sarawak into its current state of development,” he added.

The exhibition is sectioned into four galleries. The ‘journey’ starts with the history of Sarawak’s past under the Brunei Sultanate, Brooke regime, Japanese and British, highlighting the people’s struggle for independence. This first gallery mostly covers the era in the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on the state’s efforts to improve its economic, political and social situation.

The second gallery covers the state’s first wave of development since Taib became chief minister in 1981. This gallery highlights the state’s accomplishment over a period of 25 years.

The third exhibition gallery touched on Sarawak’s second wave of development which started with the creation of Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). This gallery highlights the progress achieved through the transformation of the state’s central region and the development of areas like Samalaju, Mukah and Tanjung Manis.

The fourth gallery tells the story of the state’s most recent achievements in various fields of endeavour.

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