Sarawakian politicians have slammed a Merdeka Day article by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin in which they were told that they must observe Aug 31 as Independence Day the same way July 4 was considered as such for all states in the United States.
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan Branch Chairman Robert Lau Hui Yew said Raja Petra’s knowledge of Malaysian history left much to be desired.
“Obviously, he has not read the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“How can the formation of Malaysia in 1963 by four separate self-governing nations be compared to the US?
“The US maintained its original entity from 1776 without any changes to its structure or Constitution as it expanded its territories westward.
“Their history is so very different,” he said.
“In 1957, there was no such place called Malaysia. Sarawak and Sabah were founding members of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963. We are not the 13th or 14th states of Malaysia.”
DAP Youth leader Abdul Aziz Isa said Raja Petra’s comments smacked of “arrogance and malice.”
“His inflammatory comments in his postings show how immature and desperate he can be to gain attention.”
He added that Raja Petra had joined the likes of Ridhuan Tee, Jamal Yunos, Ali Tinju, Ramesh Rao and Ibrahim Ali.
Senator Idris Buang told FMT today that celebrating Merdeka Day should not be taken out of its proper context.
“I guess the whole thing about the Merdeka celebration goes down pretty much as to how much patriotism we have for Malaysia.”
Idris expected all Malaysians to continue to celebrate Merdeka “with the highest sense of responsibility and espirit de corp with fellow citizens.”
Meanwhile Sarawak For Sarawakians spokesperson Karen Shepherd brushed aside Raja Petra’s comments, saying he was a person of little consequence.
“Raja Petra is a discredited journalist who likes to stir-up racial hatred from his home in the United Kingdom. He is not someone whose opinion on the Sarawak situation is central.”
Raja Petra’s commentary was entitled “The Stupid Merdeka Argument.”
“Can you imagine the Americans having this same argument as Malaysians?” he said regarding the controversy on whether Sarawak should observe Independence Day on Aug 31.
He said the 13 states of America, formed on July 4, 1776, had now grown to 50 states and all 50 states celebrated July 4 as their Independence Day. Last month, the US celebrated its 240th anniversary.
He said it was on Aug 31, 1957 that Tunku Abdul Rahman declared Merdeka and this date was observed as “Hari Merdeka” throughout the country.
“The point is the Opposition supporters love arguing and if they have nothing to argue about they will create something.”
In the comments section, Raja Petra said: “I can see that many of you, the non-Malays in particular, despise the Merdeka Day celebration.
“Then don’t celebrate it. Why make a big fuss over it? Also don’t take a holiday on Aug 31. Go to work.
“You can even change the Malaysian flag to three stripes and a three-pointed star if you want.
“Just do that and shut the (expletive) up. We Malays will do what we want and you non-Malays do what you want. Or better still leave Malaysia. Then you don’t need to celebrate Merdeka Day.”
Raja Putra followed up that commentary with another article today in Malaysia Today titled: “So, is it 53rd or 59th or is it 31st Aug or 16th Sept?”
“Sabahans and Sarawakians argue that they were independent nations (not mere states) before September 1963. That is not true. Sabah and Sarawak have always belonged to someone depending on which point in history you would like to use.
“For example, Selangor became ‘independent’ in 1745. Before that it was a territory of Perak. Then, 203 years later, Selangor became part of the Federation of Malaya.
“In 1957, Selangor got Merdeka, but not on its own. Selangor got Merdeka as part of Malaya.
“In 1963, Selangor became part of Malaysia.”