PBDSB questions significance of Aug 31 for Sarawakians


KUCHING: Sarawakians are aware of the state’s position in the initial formation of Malaysia (Federation of Malaysia) and the year it was formed. Now, in every Sarawakian’s mind, why is Malaysia celebrating its 61st anniversary of Independence Day and not 55th anniversary instead? What is the significance of Aug 31 for Sarawak?

Silvia John

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) had been monitoring the past events and developments when it comes to August 31 every year and queried why the Sarawak government is still allowing itself to be compelled by the federal government to spend millions of ringgit every year to hold an official celebration on every Aug 31.

“Ever since the awareness of MA63 was widely spread by Sarawak4Sarawakians NGO group, which was even well acknowledged with full recognition by the previous late Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem, Sarawakians’ knowledge of the genuine history has begun to turn a new page, especially on the issue of Sarawak’s autonomous rights which is supposed to be restored after the emergency proclamations had been lifted November 2011,” says PBDSB Women chief Silvia John in a press statement.

Ever since 2015, as declared by Adenan, the Sarawak government has been celebrating July 22 as ‘Sarawak Day’, which is also declared as an official public holiday in Sarawak, in remembrance of Sarawak obtaining self-governance on July 22, 1963; before being one of the sovereign nations together with the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Singapore, to equally form Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

“The main question now, the Aug 31 celebration by the state government would only further confuse the younger generation on the true authentic and genuine history of Sarawak being part of the Federation of Malaysia. Even in schools, ever since before, the history of Sarawak being in Malaysia and the significance of its independence day being taught was already misleading until to this very day; currently, all of August 31 celebration promo is currently promoting its 61st anniversary but in actual fact, Sarawak has only been part of Malaysia for 55 years, where are the logical facts about it?” questioned Silvia.

The recent statement made by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing mentioned that Sarawakians should not be celebrating on Aug 31 as it has nothing to do with Sarawak, saying it is actually Malaya’s Independence Day.

But the weird part is, why the president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) suddenly had the guts to speak of it now but not during their glorious Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak days, she claimed.

“Especially PRS supreme council members had begun to even dare to speak of Sarawak’s rights now. Why didn’t PRS speak of it after November 2011 onwards during their BN Sarawak days? Out of a sudden, being part of the newly formed coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), it seems the coalition had finally given them the boldness and bravery to speak like Sarawakians. Why not act like a genuine Sarawak coalition during their BN days before? What is the significance of doing it now?” asked Silvia.

For the record, Masing had in September 2014 been quoted to say “Everyone now knows that Aug 31 is Malaya’s and Sabah’s independence day… it is not our independence day. They can celebrate it both in Malaya and in Sabah as they have the same independence day date, and we can join them there if they invite us. We must right the wrong.”