KAPIT, April 24 – The declaration of July 22 as a public holiday in Sarawak to commemorate Sarawak’s independence from British colonization and remember the sacrifices and contributions by the state’s freedom fighters, received overwhelming response and support from the people.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who made the announcement in front of more than 50,000 people who attended the grand finale of the ‘One Soul, One Harmony’ programme yesterday, said the recognition would serve as a tribute to those who had fought for the freedom of the state for decades before gaining independence 55 years ago.
Adenan in his speech when making the announcement yesterday said the decision was made to recognise and acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of ancestors who had fought for Sarawak’s independence from the British. Mimi Perpetua Pam, 33, a teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Nanga Oyan, about 60km from here, said the day would serve as a platform for the young generation, especially students in schools, to learn about the history of Sarawak.
“Through the announcement, students will be curious to know about the British colonization and learn about the freedom fighters. Schools can also organise activities and programmes to reflect the history of Sarawak under the British rule,” she told Bernama, here today.
Mimi said as a Sarawakian, she was proud to have a Chief Minister who recognises the independence of the state and those who had sacrificed or contributed for the freedom that Sarawakians are currently enjoying. The public holiday is expected to be observed starting this year.
In MIRI, community head (Temenggong) for Miri division, Abdul Rahman Fadzail said the declaration would instill patriotism among the young generation and help them remember their forefathers who had fought for the freedom of the state from the British.
A Community College lecturer in Miri, Chong Chiew Ching, 35, said if July 22, was not announced as a public holiday, maybe many among the younger generation would not have had an opportunity to learn about the history of the state. She said that the announcement has triggered a huge amount of interest among the people to know about the history of the state. She said for many, especially students, it will be a good opportunity to learn the history of the state.
Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development & Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the announcement was made at the most appropriate time since the people have been waiting for such an occasion for a long time. He said Independence Day is an important day that must be remembered by every citizen of the state and even the country since it was the day that Sarawak had gained independence from the British.
SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting in welcoming the announcement said it was a historic day for the people of Sarawak since the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered and replaced with the Sarawak flag and headed by the first chief minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan. He said as Sarawakians, they will feel proud to be a part of the day that will honour the ancestors who had fought for the freedom of the state.