SAMARAHAN (Sept 2): Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has criticised Sarawakians who fly the state’s old colonial flag, branding them as unpatriotic.
“When I go for a drive around Padungan I see a lot of shop houses flying those old colonial flags. They don’t have a sense of patriotism. Maybe they thought that we are still in colonial times.
“Im sorry, but I think they are not appreciative of the independence that we have gained now,” he said, referring to a busy street in Kuching.
Abdul Karim said this at the closing of the Samarahan District [email protected] programme here this afternoon which was organised by the Information Department.
Sarawak was under the rule of the White Rajah from 1848 until it was ceded to the British government in 1946. It gained self-rule on July 22, 1963, a few months before the formation of Malaysia that same year.
Abdul Karim said Sarawakians, including political leaders, should respect and accept August 31 as a symbolic day of independence for Malaysia including Sarawak.
He said although historically Sarawak only joined Malaysia on September 16, it had been agreed upon by Sarawak leaders during that time that August 31 is the independence day of Malaysia as a whole.
“This should not have been an issue in the first place. I know certain leaders in the state also made an issue out of this.
“August 31 is a symbolic date that should be accepted as Malaysia’s independence day, and for the unity of Malaysians,” Abdul Karim said.
He brought up the United States of America (USA) as an example, which celebrated July 4 as their independence day.
He said the USA has 50 states now, but when it gained independence on July 4, 1776, USA only had less than 10 states.
Abdul Karim, who is Asajaya assemblyman, said after two to three years, more states started joining the USA, and now it has 50 states, all united and together celebrating July 4 as their independence day.
“If we look at it based on the Sarawak issue, the USA should be celebrating 50 different independence day dates. But that is not the case because July 4 is a symbolic date accepted by all Americans,” he said.
Also present were Kota Samarahan MP Rubiah Wang, Stakan assemblyman Dato Sri Mohammad Ali Mahmud and Information Department Sarawak director Suwadi Guliling.