KUCHING, Sept 3 — Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo today asked if Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was afraid of a colonial-era flag flown recently by several locals to mark Sarawak’s independence day on July 22.
She admitted that she and several members of civil society Sarawak For Sarawakians had gone around Padungan to install the flags for the Sarawak Independence Day on July 22, 2020 after being assured by the local police station that there was no law to prohibit the display of any of Sarawak’s registered flags
“Why is he so afraid of the flag?” she said in a statement in response to Karim’s chiding yesterday.
She said she found it comical that Karim would brand those who flew the flag as “unpatriotic”, telling the state minister to read and understand Sarawak’s flag history before questioning the loyalty of Sarawakians.
Soo said the crown flag is registered under the Flag and Emblem Ordinance, and it was Sarawak’s national flag flown from July 1, 1946, to August 30, 1973 — a total of 27 years.
“Does that mean the Sarawak government was unpatriotic and disloyal for 10 years from 1963 to 1973?
“If as Karim has claimed that this flag is a colonial flag, then he must believe that from 1963 to 1973, Sarawak is a colony under the administration of Malaysia, too,” she said.
She said the same flag was flown when Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan was appointed Sarawak chief minister on July 22, 1963, heralding the dawn of Sarawak administrative self-government.
Soo said it ludicrous for Karim to coerce Sarawakians to accept August 31 as a symbolic day of independence for Sarawak.
“This is distorting history as August 31, 1957 was the date Britain granted independence to the Federation of Malaya, and there was no Malaysia yet,” she added.
Soo accused state leaders of being unpatriotic by giving away 95 per cent of the Sarawak’s oil and gas to Petronas to develop Malaya.