20180916SN 13

Sarawakians call for national integration

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KUCHING — Despite their increasing vexation at having to demand the return of state rights as agreed upon 55 years ago, Sarawakians today generally see Malaysia as their home.

The main drawback seems to be a lack of national integration among the people of Sarawak and Sabah with those in Peninsular Malaysia.

In a straw poll ahead of Malaysia Day, Sarawakians told Malay Mail more must be done so Malaysians from both sides of the South China Sea will come to know and understand each other better.

They said Sarawakians and Sabahans seem to know more about the peninsula, but not the other way round.

“I think it has got to do with our education system which seems to give more emphasis to things happening on the other side,” said housewife Agnes Tiong.

“Look at the history taught to our children, it is almost about Malaya.”

The mother of five said there is an urgent need to rewrite the history books used in schools, adding that the current geography books are also no different.

Despite the shortcomings, Tiong considers Malaysia her home and said she would never think of relocating.

Lawyer Ann Teo said it saddens her whenever she gets news of her friends or family members migrating to another country.

“In my heart, I say, ‘Come on, our country is only 55 years old’, and even if you start the clock at 1957, it would be only 61,” she told Malay Mail.

“Why do they give up hope on Malaysia so fast if she is only 55? A sum is only made up of its parts, so it is us or each one of us that makes Malaysia. On this Malaysia Day, ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.”

Teo said the quicker Malaysians realise this, the faster it will be to “rebuild Malaysia” and achieve developed nation status.

To her, living and working in Sarawak at this juncture in the country’s life takes on a greater significance.

“Why? I think it is because we Sarawakians may be coming to a point in history in which we have to ask ourselves the more serious questions of what we want in Malaysia and where do we want to go from here,” said Teo.

“We owe it to ourselves and our future generations to maintain the values we hold dear to and to start to do the things today so that we can see the future we want.”