FEATURE (SNN) – Sanib Said, an eminent historian, said that Wan Juniadi won the debate against PSB over the 22nd July controversy. This momentous date continues to become less of a celebration and more of a contestation among the people of Sarawak. The difference this year is the appearance of newcomers in the public domain. The previous debaters seemed to be quiet this year; it was a good sport to seek the truth of a fact on the history of Sarawak.
This year the Borneo Post interviewed YB Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, a PBB veteran politician and a federal YB Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, a veteran politician who is also the Federal Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative. The minister said, ““You can say anything you want (about Sarawak Independence Day) but to me personally, as a person who studied history based on the laws and facts, it is not an Independence Day. It is the date of self-governance for Sarawak.”
The next day the same newspaper published a media statement from a new political party, PSB (Parti Sarawak Bersatu) also a newcomer to the debate. The statement read, ““PSB steadfastly holds the view that Sarawak was independent when it executed MA63 and we are equal partners in the Federation and our voice and views hold equal importance.” in all matters.”
An eminent historian, Datu Dr. Sanib bin Said, judged that Wan Junaidi won the debate against PSB as seen in their spat in the newspaper. Sanib said past events should be analysed with various sources to get the all facts right in order to find the truth. Otherwise you will get falsehood; that is lying not only to the people of Sarawak but to the whole world.
Sanib bin Said has conducted an intensive research on period after the World War II until 1966 for his MA thesis that was eventually published by the world-renowned Oxford University Press in 1989.
“.. GET THE FACTS RIGHT IN ORDER TO FIND THE TRUTH.”
What actually happened on 22 July 1963 in Sarawak? Let us identify and get the sources that are available. He spent months reading all the Malay and English newspapers, official publication and interviewed many community and political leaders during the period way back in 1978. The Sarawak Tribune, the first English newspaper of Sarawak, reported both official and divisional news. The events that occurred on the 22nd July 1963 would appear on 23rd July 1963. The big headline on that day read; “Ningkan Appointed Chief Minister” and the second line read, “New Supreme Council”. There was no mention of Sarawak gaining its independence from the colonial master.
Obviously, 22nd July 1963 was a historic day for Sarawak with the appointment of our own leader as the first Chief Minister as well as the formation of the first ministerial cabinet. It was absolutely not about getting independence at all. YAB Patinggi Abang Johari, the present Chief Minister, once told me there was no festivities on that day in Kuching. Wan Junaidi correctly remembered it was just ordinary day, not even a holiday. They are the living witnesses of 22nd July 1963 who did not see any celebration of the independence of Sarawak. A more detailed discussion can be found here https://www.sanibsaid.com/22-july-1963-6-evidence-prove-sarawak-not-gained-independence/
Another source of evidence, according to Sanib, is the official document, Sarawak Government Gazette (SGG) where the government publishes various notifications and not to be confused with the Sarawak Gazettewhich is semi-official magazine. The SGG dated 22nd July 1963, Monday, published these: “No. 1167. THE SARAWAK (CONSTITUTION) ORDERS IN COUNCIL, 1956 TO 1963”, “APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF MINISTER. HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 4 of the Sarawak (Constitution) Orders in Council 1956 to 1963, has been pleased to appoint, by Instrument under the Public Seal dated 22nd day of July, Mr. Stephen Kalong Ningkan, to be Chief Minister of Sarawak.”
The same SGG also published, “No. 1168. THE SARAWAK (CONSTITUTION) ORDERS IN COUNCIL, 1956 TO 1963. APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS OF SUPREME COUNCIL. HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by section 4 of the Sarawak (Constitution) Orders in Council 1956 to 1963, has been pleased to appoint, by Instrument under the Public Seal dated 22nd day of July, the following persons to be Members of the Supreme Council: Mr. TEO KUI SENG, MR. JAMES WONG KIM MIN, ENCIK ABDUL TAIB BIN MAHMUD, ENCIK AWANG HIPNI BIN PENGIRAN ANNU, MR. DUSTAN ENDAWI ANAK ENCHANA.”
It is perfectly clear that the SGG, published on 22nd July 1963, does not have any notification declaring the independence of Sarawak. These two sources of facts tell the truth that on the day Sarawak did not achieved independence yet. Instead Sarawak only gained self-government, a step toward independence during the age of colonialism.
The facts tell us the truth, not lie. If Sarawakians believe in a lie relating to our history, we would become a laughing stock of the world.
One of the reasons why 22nd July remains controversial is because of the notification in SGG in declaring a new holiday called Sarawak Independence Day. The SGG dated 20th May 2016 published “Swk L N. 150. THE PUBLIC HOLIDAY ORDINANCE. PUBLIC HOLIDAY (SARAWAK INDEPENDENCE DAY)”.
This is a factual error here. The present government should rectify this quickly. It will help to end this perennial controversy so that all Sarawakians can have a truthful celebration as Sarawak Day.