By Puvaneswary Devindran
THE reminder ‘Lest We Forget’ kept popping up during my recent interview with Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min.
While he also had this printed as the title of his introduction in the books he had authored, these three little but powerful words could very well sum up everything needed to be said about the significance of Sept 16 to all Sarawakians.
“People don’t seem to understand or seem not to pay enough attention. Malaysia came into existence on Sept 16. Not Aug 31 which has no meaning to us Sarawakians,” he said in a fatherly tone which gave added piquancy to the aroma of thick coffee lingering in his office.
True to the testaments of other journalists who had covered this ‘grand old man of Sarawak politics’ before, Wong, even at 86, commands a conversation very well with his quick wits and blunt statements.
“He always has a knack for words with a bagful of useful phrases, idioms and proverbs,” a fellow journalist noted.
Wong’s interview on the subject of Sept 16 seemed long overdue, especially in these couple of years following talks about how important it was and how it should be celebrated.
Never mind that the date had been politicised somewhat, it is still an important day in Malaysia’s history and thesundaypost and its sister paper See Hua Daily News felt Wong’s opinion mattered.
“It is the day Malaysia was formed. If they want to celebrate on Aug 31, that’s up to them. In my heart, I know it’s Sept 16,” he said.
Obviously, respect for this date (Sept 16) runs deep in the heart of this paramount leader who played a pioneering role in Malaysia’s formation and in placing the nation in the eyes of world.
A telegram to Wong during a timber cruise in Baram in 1961 officially snowballed him into the quest to form Malaysia.
Today is a great day of the 45th Years in joining The Greatest Empire of Malaya. Long live the CM and PM. Anwar Ibrahim declared today will be the most historical day in the National history but yet all those frogs are hopping to Hong Kong to learn how to setup casino. Who made today as the greatest day for the Sarawakians? Tun Jugah, James Wong or Anwar Ibrahim?
It’s 45 years of struggle for the Dayak to seek their fate under the UMNO governance where there are less attention to the Dayak. Dato Amar James Wong should review his “Patriotism” spirit by accepting Tun Fuad Stephen invitation to join Malaya. Today, The Aborigines must remember it as the darkest day in the years although it should be celebrated as a victorious from confrontation and communist. In fact, we should never fear of Bong Kee Chok because he is well fed by Rahman and the clan. We are The Aborigines of this virgin rainforest has never being a trouble to British, Brunei and Sukaernao. It’s Rahman, Wong and Jugah who shape the jars into saucer. We still have our brothers and sisters in Indonesia (Kalimantan) where were originated.
Just now, my friend told me how good it is if Sarawak is still under the Brunei monarchy. Better still, we will enjoy vast petroleum and natural resources on our own. Well said although it might be a “stupid” feeling. The Malay sold us twice. Brunei sold the Aborigines to Brooke family and after that to Malaya. The Dayak lost their place in the eyes of the society when Kalong Ningkan was thrown out of his office due to “Racism” issue. Well said in his book “The Broken Shield”, Joseph Tawie summarized that Sarawak is made of money politic and scandals by the converted Melanau to rule and grab everything on this very earth of the Dayak.
Jabu, in his interview with RTM 1 program last night told that Sarawak politic is in well condition and stable. Well, we should review our state wealth and income which is not benefited the Sarawakian as whole. Contracts are given to Naim and CMS and then after a lot of deduction they are distributed to the Dayak at about 1% per tribe. Jabu should have a very solid answer of the local SALCRA worker wages although the price of crude oil palm is greater than rubber and timber. Why pay less? Is it a reason to invite Indonesians and create another Project IC to support UMNO once Taib is called by God?
Pairin said that the government should be more serious in handling racial issue to harvest the people trust towards the government. Well, they are trying hard up to now where racist has to be banned and those human right fighters have to face ISA and someone has to resign though. The government is not serious. They like to play with small issue to spark the hatred of the people to other race and religion.
Well said Dompok,
"My answer is, let us not distort history. It is because we love our country that we want the proper date...I think Sabahans and Sarawakans are zealous about safeguarding their date of independence," he said.
Based on history, Dompok said Sept 16, 1963 should be considered as Malaysia Day as it was the real date for the birth of Malaysia.
"We know of course that there was no Malaysia before Sept 16, 1963.
What existed then was the Federation of Malaya. If we had joined Malaya then, the legitimate date would be Aug 31, 1957, but we did not.
"These are facts of history and I don't think we should change that. That is my point of view ... Aug 31 is independence day for Peninsular Malaysia and probably in the context of Sabah and Sarawak, Aug 31 can still be considered independence day, but Malaysia Day and the birth of Malaysia was on Sept 16." Daily Express Sabah.
To me, 16th September (yesterday was my birthday) is a failure to the Dayak under the great empire of Malaya. We lost something that we should have now to some people who are lack of humanity and courage. Let us remember today is a failure of the government to cater the Aborigines needs under the Malaysian Proclamation and Sarawak Proclamation.