Hornbill Unleashed

July 24, 2017

Sarawak made a wise decision 54 years ago — Abang Johari

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Image result for Abang JohariSarawak made a wise decision 54 years ago and had proved to the world that it could rule itself, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Looking back, we cannot but say that we have made a wise decision. After July 22 (1963), we have proven to the world that we can rule ourselves – we do not need assistance from the people in London to tell us what to do,” he said in his speech during the Sarawak Day 2017 celebration at Kuching Waterfront yesterday, where Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib were present.

Abang Johari, who attended the celebration with his wife Datin Amar Dato’ Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, said it was fortunate that Sarawak did not gain its independence through ‘war and bloodshed’, but by ‘negotiating at the conference table’.

“The British knew that their days as a colonial power were numbered and that they must give up their possessions as promised by the Third Rajah, Charles Brooke in 1941.

“There were some resistance at first but in the end, they were very accommodating – we parted as friends, not as enemies, with the British. We are good friends with the British until today,” he pointed out.

According to him, the circumstances in 1963 were much different from what they are today.

“We were not only a backwater, undeveloped country, but also a poor one – poverty was rife. We were under the threat of communism, China was trying to expand and Indonesia was dominated by the Parti Komunis Indonesia (communist party) which had territorial claims on this region.

“The Philippines was also hostile at the time because they laid claim to Sabah. Knowing that we could not defend ourselves alone in such circumstances, we looked to the Commonwealth and fellow Malaysians from Malaya for safety.”

Abang Johari pointed out that this was why Sarawak insisted on certain terms and conditions, which gave the state autonomy over many aspects of the constitution after agreeing to be a part of Malaysia in principle.

The chief minister remembered that he was only 13 when Sarawak decided to be free from colonial rule in 1963.

“Back then, I knew that something very important was going on as I could see a number of people coming over to our house to see my father. One of them was Apai Jugah (the late Tun Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Temenggong Jugah Barieng) who met my father and called him ‘menyadi’ in Iban, or ‘brother’. (The late Tan Sri Datuk Amar) Ong Kee Hui also came and he called my father ‘brother’.

“On this day 54 years ago, we had our own governor in my father, (Tun) Datuk Abang Haji Openg; our own chief minister (Tan Sri) Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan and our own state cabinet entrusted to rule the state in our own way without direction from London,” he recalled.

Abang Johari added that Taib was among the members of that first state cabinet, when the latter was only 27.

“On Sept 16, 1963, we became party to the formation of Malaysia after signing the Malaysia Agreement on July 9, 1963 in London. We became party to a bigger federation of Malaysia in the hope that we would be free and independent people, safeguarded against hostile neighbours and internal subversion.

“And of course, being party to the Malaysia Agreement, we’re safeguarded by the recommendations under the Cobbold Commission and United Nations fact-finding team.”

Abang Johari said Taib, who was the state’s fourth chief minister, decided that it was appropriate for July 22 to be honoured as the day when Sarawak was granted self-rule by the British.

“The late Tok Nan (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) took it further and declared July 22 as a public holiday in Sarawak, called Sarawak Day.”

Adenan, the state’s fifth chief minister who passed away on Jan 11 this year, declared July 22 as a public holiday early last year.

Last year’s celebration was also graced by Taib and Raghad.

Source : The Borneo Post Online


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