Saturday, September 26

‘Pendatang’ no more, Sarawak Day strengthens sense of belonging


THE sense of belonging of the local Chinese in Sarawak had grown stronger since Sarawak Day was gazetted a public holiday in 2016, said Federation of Chinese Association Sarawak vice president Datuk David Goh.

“In the past, the term ‘pendatang’ was often used to describe the non-Bumiputeras. The Chinese community felt it the most. However, that all changed for Sarawak-born Chinese after the historic day.

“The Chinese have a patriotic phrase: ‘Loyalty to the Country’. I believe this phrase has properly explained our feeling towards Sarawak, the day July 22 was gazetted,” he said.

Goh: Only a Sarawakian understands and knows what is best for Sarawakians.

Goh, who is also the president of Federation of Miri Division Chinese Associations, said as part of this ‘big family’, the Chinese shared the concern of their fellow Sarawakians for the social and economic development of their state.

He lauded the state government for its effort in ensuring that Sarawak would be recognised as an equal partner in Malaysia.

“As an equal partner, Sarawak has the autonomy such as immigration, and our government is working towards regaining and strengthening other rights, because only a Sarawakian understands and knows what is best for us.

“We love this land, and with hope of in the future of Sarawak, it has given us the strength to continue our work, contributing for this country,” said Goh.

He also strongly believed that it was vitally important to educate the younger generation on Sarawak history about this special day, which is not just another public holiday.

Miri Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Lee Khoi Yun said Sarawak Day should be embraced with joy and with understanding that the only way Sarawak could prosper would be for its people to unite as one.

“The peace and harmony that we’ve enjoyed here does not come easily. It is the effort of everyone, with respect for each other.”

Sarawak government’s effort to take back its autonomy in finance and economy has been clearly demonstrated by its many development propositions for the benefit of the people.

“The Sarawak Economic
Action Council, which was announced by the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, focuses on and is aimed at improving the economy, post Covid-19 up to 2030 – giving us new hope of what to expect.

“Not only the basic infrastructures and utilities to improve the livelihood of its people, Sarawak government recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), shows that it appreciates every talent regardless of race and religious background,” said Lee.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Tan Lik Jin felt that Sarawak Day should be taught at school for the younger generation to truly understand and embrace the spirit of ‘Anak Sarawak’ (Children of Sarawak).

“Though the de facto independence lasted some 70 days before Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia with Malaya and Sabah, there’s no reason for us to just overlook this.

“We may forget, but we cannot deny that this is part of our history as Sarawakians.

“Now that the awareness among the people has gradually increased, it is hoped that every Sarawakian could do their part in passing down this piece of history and its value to our future generation,” said Tan.