The first ever Sarawak Day celebration on 22 July 2016

The Sarawak Day on 22 July 2016 had been declared as the state public holiday for the first time ever. This celebration was to mark the date when the state gained self-government from the British colony as a prelude to forming Malaysia together with North Borneo (Sabah), Singapore and Malaya in 1963.

Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, declared 22 July 2016 a public holiday for Sarawak on 22 April 2016.

Although it does not mean complete independence, the date was special because Sarawakians were responsible for governing Sarawak after hundreds of years under the ruling of the Sultanate of Brunei (1599 – 1842), the Rajah Brooke administrative period (1842 to 1941), the Japanese reign (1941 – 1945) and the British colonial rule (1946 – 22 July 1963.

On 22 July 1963, Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan was appointed Sarawak Chief Minister and when the Supreme Council comprising Sarawak’s first ministerial cabinet was formed, though Sir Alexander Wadell, the last British governor, was still occupying the Astana and serving as governor of the British colony until 15 Sept 1963.

The first Sarawak Day was celebrated by all Sarawakians, from all over Sarawak in different kind of celebrations.

Sarawak Day Celebration 2016

Image credit to New Straits Times Online

In Kuching, people gathered at The Waterfront where the main celebration was held. The opening ceremony was officiated at by Head of State, Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, who attended the event with his wife, Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib. Our beloved Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem and wife Puan Sri Jamilah Anu, parliament ministers and state cabinet ministers were also present during the celebration. A special performance staged to commemorate the history of Sarawak, depicting on Sarawak being one of Brunei’s territories, the reign of the White Rajahs under the Brooke family which lasted a century, the Japanese Occupation, Anti-Cession Movement and eventually, Sarawak’s independence.

Image credit to The Borneo Post

In Miri, despite the heavy rain, thousands of people gathered at Miri City Council (MCC) field on the night of 21st July for Sarawak Day countdown. There were various performances by local bands and artistes, and showcases by dance troupes including the award-winning Sanggar Budaya.

Image credit to The Borneo Post

Image credit to The Borneo Post

Some clubs were celebrating the day in their own way. For example, Serian Division Vespa Fan Club started convoying from Serian to Miri on 20 July in a five-day trip as the club’s initiative to celebrate Sarawak Day.

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Image credit to The Borneo Post

In a different occasion, about 200 bikers from in and around Sibu took part in the ‘Sarawak Day Big Bike Ride to Sarikei’. The flag-off was held at at Sibu Town Square Phase 2 on 22 July 2016, and it was organised by Sibu Municipal Council (SMC).

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Image credit to The Borneo Post

The Sarawak Day is to commemorate the day Sarawak achieved self-government from the British. Regardless of difference in race, culture & religion, Sarawakians are proud of our unique identity and hope to continue living in peace and harmony among each other.

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