KUCHING: The Sarawak Independence Day celebration event organised by the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) and Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S) will continue as the police have given the event their support despite inaccurate early reports that the event had not been allowed to proceed.

Event organising chairman Peter John Jaban told the media that it will be held at the Song Kheng Hai Food and Recreation Centre from 8.30am onwards.

“We thank the police, especially (Kuching police chief) ACP Roslan Bek, for their understanding and open mindedness towards the event. The police had some concerns over the street parade on a working day and two councils within the city refused to give us approval to use their facilities,” said John.

He added that the stalls at Song Kheng Hai will be open early in the morning, followed by performances and an inter-city tug of war.

“It’s a chance for the people of Sarawak to gather in celebration of their great state,” he added.

John urged those interested to attend to park outside the vicinity of Song Kheng Hai Grounds.

“They should park instead at one of the following locations – Saujana Car Park, Wisma Pelita Car Park or Permata Car Park before walking to the venue. They can wear their Sarawak memorabilia but not chant slogans or carry placards along the way,” he advised.

He went on to say that there was a possibility of outsiders trying to cause trouble and the police will be there to support the event as well as 100 RELA personnel on standby.

“If there are any problems on the day, participants are advised to link arms with friends and sit immediately to expose the troublemakers,” he said.

John added that the event is not a protest, but a turning point in Sarawak’s history where they would send a message that they will not be overlooked for another 50 years.

Meanwhile, ‘Concerned Sarawakians’ member Lina Soo said a forum will be held at Telang Usan Hotel on the same day at 7pm.

“Entrance to the forum is free and is open to all Sarawakians with the theme ‘Our Rights, Our Dignity, Our Nation’,” said Soo.

“It is an interactive forum where attendees can interact with the panellists. We are calling for all Sarawakians to put aside their political ideology and racial prejudice and come as Sarawakians,” she added.

Among the panellists are former diplomat Datuk John Tenuwi Nuwek, Peter John Laban and State DAP Youth member Abdul Aziz Isa.

On a related matter, Soo called for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem to declare July 22 as a public holiday for Sarawak.

“If he does, he will be the first Chief Minister to listen to the voice of the people,” she said.

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