Saturday, 25 July 2015

‘We are Sarawakians’ slogan replaces controversial S4S

Man behind July 22 Independence Day Walk makes the change after being interrogated for six hours by police over his Sarawak4Sarawakians movement.

KUCHING: Radio Free Sarawak’s (RFS) Peter John Jaban, the man behind this year’s “722 Sarawak Independence Walk” has decided to change the slogan for next year’s walk from the controversial “Sarawak4Sarawakians (S4S) to the even more controversial “We are Sarawakians”.

There’s no mention of Sarawakians being Malaysians.

The Sarawak Chief Minister had earlier endorsed Sarawak4Sarawakians and did not think that it was a controversial slogan. “Sarawak should be for Sarawakians.”

Peter made the decision after he was interrogated for six hours by police on Thursday for organizing the July 22 walk in Kuching and elsewhere in the state in conjunction with Sarawak Independence Day. “Sarawak4Sarawakians was not registered because it’s an idea, a belief. It’s the same as the ‘agi idup, agi ngelaban’ (as long as there’s life, we fight) war cry of the Malaysian Rangers.”

“We are Sarawakian”, he said, would not be registered either because it’s also an idea, a belief, a movement.

“I was the only one interrogated for so long,” said Peter on being shabbily treated by the authorities. “The other 12 members of the organizing committee were only questioned for about 15 minutes.”

“I could not cancel ‘722 Sarawak Independence Walk’, the event, as demanded by Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar because people from all over Sarawak, 10,000 of them, had already gathered in Kuching alone.”

The police, he added, wanted to know whether S4S was working towards the secession of Sarawak from the Federation. “I told them no one talked about secession. We just wanted to observe Sarawak’s Independence Day which falls on July 22.”

August 31, he pointed out to the police, was the Independence Day for Malaya in 1957 and Sabah in 1963. “16 September is not Independence Day.”

Several leaders, he said, also spoke up for full autonomy for Sarawak. “If I am being seditious, then they are also being seditious.”

He pointed that among others, Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem and PRS Chief James Masing spoke on full autonomy during the official celebration in Kuching. Others, he said, came from SUPP, DAP, PKR, and UPP.

Sarawak4Sarawakians was inspired by the Sabah4Sabahans movement initiated by the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and then Sabah Foundation Director Jeffrey Kitingan in 1985.



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