KUCHING:  A historical re-enactment of Sarawak achieving independence from British rule will be staged in conjunction with Sarawak Day 2016 at the Kuching Waterfront on July 22.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said this year’s celebration was more significant because it was the first time that July 22 was declared as a public holiday for the state.

Abang Johari said thousands of Sarawakians are expected to throng the banks of the Sarawak River to witness the re-enactment of Sarawak’s history, starting from the time of the Brunei sultanate from 1599 to 1842, the Rajah Brooke administration from 1842 until 1946 and British colonial rule from 1946 to July 22, 1963.

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“The Sarawak Day celebration is also very significant to show to the people in the state, especially the young generation, of Sarawak’s freedom from the shackles of colonialism and administration by the locals themselves,” Abang Johari, who is also this year’s celebration committee chairman, told a media conference here today.

He said on July 22, 1963 the last British governor Sir Alexander Waddell left the Astana and ride on a sampan crossing the Sarawak River to hand over the administration of Sarawak to the people of Sarawak. And that moment, the flag of Sarawak was also hoisted.

Before Waddell left Sarawak, he appointed Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the first Sarawak chief minister, and thus, handed over the executive power to the Sarawak cabinet, led by Kalong Ningkan.

Abang Johari said there would also be an exhibition on the history of Sarawak, including the Malaysia Agreement 1963 document.

Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem are expected to attend the historic celebration.

He said the state government would also invite federal leaders to attend the event. — Bernama