KUCHING: An official ‘Day of Remembrance’ to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of Sarawak’s independence from the British was held at the new State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Building yesterday.
The celebration was attended by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Dato’ Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and wife Datin Patinggi Dato Jamilah Anu, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang and wife Dato Sri Empiang Jabu.
The top state leaders were dressed in all white as they came together to honour and acknowledge such an important event in the history of Sarawak.
The celebration featured a truly wonderful theatre about Sarawak’s struggles to gain independence from British colonisation 52 years ago that was staged at DUN’s Dataran Perbarisan.
For a short time, Sarawak was indeed granted self-government on July 22, 1963, on condition that it would join the formation of Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16 the same year.
Sir Alexander Waddell was the last governor of the colony as he left the Astana and boarded a white sampan to cross the Sarawak River. He then handed the administration of Sarawak to Sarawakian citizens, with the colonial flag lowered and the Sarawak flag raised.
Before he left, the governor appointed Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the first chief minister of Sarawak.
The theatre was staged jointly by performers from Social Development Ministry, state Cultural and Heritage Department, Dayak Cultural Foundation, Labu Sakti Studio Group, the Royal Malaysia Police, as well as various non-governmental organisations and associations.
Later, Taib penned his signature on a plaque bearing a black and white photo of past leaders to mark the 52nd anniversary of Sarawak’s Independence.
Senior ministers including Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (Resource Planning and Environment II), Tan Sri William Mawan (Social Development), Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg (Tourism), Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing (Land Development), Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (Local Government and Community Development), state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Abdul Ghani, DUN speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, heads of departments, community leaders and other dignitaries were among those present.