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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The only National Day is Sept 16


Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) is urging for an end to the misinformation about Aug 31 and its significance in history, especially amongst schoolchildren. As the state government spends huge amounts on celebrations in Sri Aman, dwarfing any that took place on July 22, 2016 or are likely to take place on Sept 16, the group are asking why Malaya’s Merdeka continues to be portrayed as the primary celebration of the nation, even here at state level.
Therefore, they want greater prominence for Sept 16 nationwide and greater insistence in schools on an accurate portrayal of the history of the nation.
S4S leader Peter John Jaban said: “A host of minor YBs have come out to urge people to celebrate National Day as they call it. Some have even described it as Malaysia’s Merdeka day. As far as we are concerned, Sept 16 is the only day that can possibly qualify as National Day as on Aug 31, 1957, Malaysia as a nation did not exist and was not even conceived.
“This insistence on a version of history which totally ignores the contribution of Sarawak cannot continue, especially in Sarawak schools. This is why we need greater autonomy in the syllabus in the State. Our children are being indoctrinated with a version of history that wipes out the contributions of their own forefathers. History must be taught accurately, including an in-depth study of the way in which our nation was formed, as a partnership of four nations at that time.
“The question has already been raised about signage at the airport claiming Malaysia to be 59 years old. Are we teaching our children that accuracy in their work, especially in matters of history, are not important?”
He continued: “We are happy to celebrate with our Malaysian brothers and sisters their Merdeka in Malaya. We are happy to celebrate with our brothers and sisters in Sabah who achieved self-rule on Aug 31. In return, we hope that they will begin to celebrate July 22 in solidarity with us.
“Sarawak has its own unique history and we cannot allow that to be wiped out. As a nation, the date that we should celebrate together, as our National Day, is Sept 16 when we should all be happy to fly the Jalur Gemilang. This is the day that our nation was formed and no other.
“We must ask why, ever since Sept 16 was declared a public holiday after so many years had passed, the centre of celebrations has always alternated between Sabah and Sarawak. Do the authorities in Kuala Lumpur have something to hide?”
Therefore, the group is asking that the celebrations of National Day should from now on reign supreme on Sept 16 as opposed to Aug 31 - a date that has no direct significance to Sarawakians. Furthermore, teachers must take the responsibility to ensure that their students are not misled any longer in their understanding of history. The real history must be reflected on our streets, in our newspapers, in our schools and in our signage. Only then can Sabah and Sarawak truly feel their inclusion as Malaysians. - Mkini

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