INDEPENDENCE: State reenacts the day 50 years ago when the Union Jack was lowered
KUCHING: THE state capital went back in time yesterday as Sarawak celebrated her 50th year of independence from British colonial rule.
The celebration was not held at the same location — in Padang Merdeka or Central Padang as it was known then.
But it did not forget the details like the last British Governor Sir Alexander Waddel and his entourage crossing the river from the Astana, during a reenactment of the event.
The actors who played the role of the former state leaders then walked towards the Square Tower at the Kuching Waterfront, where the Union Jack was lowered as the state’s old flag was flown.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was also among the early leaders who were present to witness the historic day.
He was then 28 years old and was the works and communications minister when the colonial masters left the fate of the state to the Sarawakians.
“The Brooke family ruled us for 100 years, then came the Japanese Occupation during the Second World War followed by the British for 17 years. That day was a big day for us,” said Taib in his speech at the event.
Taib said the younger generation must not forget what the earlier leaders had done to pave the way for present day Sarawak.
He said that during the state’s early days, despite being a free country, it was also a struggle.
“We are economically better off today. The household income back then was only RM426 a month, but that figure has gone up ten-fold now.”
Sarawak could have never done better alone due to its small population and huge land size.
“We needed to move forward back then and we knew what we needed was a bigger entity to strive ahead.
“That is why we formed Malaysia, three months after our independence. We have done well for the past 50 years but the journey is still far.
“People’s expectations increase every year and there are many things that must be fulfilled. I want children of Sarawak to strive for a better future.”
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng and his wife, Toh Puan Norkiah, were present at the celebrations.