NGOs say use of term 'Darul Hana’ an attempt to change Sarawak's identity as secular state

The NGOs said in terms of history, the use of ‘Darul Hana’ in Sarawak is not suitable as it has never been used since the setting-up of the modern government of Sarawak in 1841. — Borneo Post Online pic
The NGOs said in terms of history, the use of ‘Darul Hana’ in Sarawak is not suitable as it has never been used since the setting-up of the modern government of Sarawak in 1841. — Borneo Post Online pic

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MIRI, Dec 7 — Five local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) voiced their objection yesterday to certain quarters using ‘Darul Hana’ when describing Sarawak, claiming it was an attempt to change Sarawak’s identity from a secular state to one based on religion.

In a joint statement, the NGOs said Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and other groups should immediately cease using the term ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’ as it could disrupt racial and religious harmony in the state.

“We are aware that there are parties out there trying to disturb our religious harmony by trying to change ‘Sarawak Bumi Kenyalang’ to ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’, which was never agreed upon by all the races in the state.

“In terms of history, the use of ‘Darul Hana’ in Sarawak is not suitable as it has never been used since the setting-up of the modern government of Sarawak in 1841.

“Any attempts by irresponsible elements to change the history of Sarawak which is a secular state should be stopped immediately,” said the NGOs.

The statement was signed by Dayak Think Thank Association deputy president Edward Awan, Dayak National Congress president Paul Raja, Sarawak Iban Association president Samuel Suring, Persatuan Balang Balai Nyabong president Mengga Mikui, and Sarawak Dayak Iban Association Miri secretary Rafael Dru.

The five NGOs said the administration of Sarawak since the formation of Malaysia was based on the ‘agreement’ of all races, adding that parties such as PAS do not know the history of Sarawak.

“We do not dispute the history of any race, but historical references must be accurate and the purpose is to promote good for all parties.

“In terms of history that is generally known, Sarawak was under the rule of the Sultan Tengah once upon a time only in the present part of Kuching, and not the whole state of Sarawak as it is now (up to the divisions of Limbang and Lawas).

“Sarawak today is not a continuation of the Tengah Sultanate government that only existed and lasted from 1627 to 1657.”

In April last year, Utusan Borneo had reported PAS Sarawak commissioner Jofrie Jaraiee as defending the use of the term ‘Sarawak Darul Hana’ in a greeting uploaded onto the party’s social media page in conjunction with the visit of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong to Kuching.

Jofrie had said that ‘Darul Hana’ was the original name of Sarawak during the rule of Sultan Tengah from 1627 till 1657, and that those who disputed this ought to study the history of Sarawak prior to British rule. — Borneo Post Online

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