Sarawak Independence Day

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The hoisting of the Kingdom of Sarawak flag on the civilian compound of the Kuching POW and internment camp in 12 September 1945 by Mr. D. R. Lascelles, the former District Officer for Miri and Mr J. B. Archer, the Chief of Section of Sarawak Civil Service, ex-internees of the Japanese shortly after the surrender of Japan.

Sarawak Independence Day is an independence day celebrated on 22 July every year by the state of Sarawak in Malaysia.[1][2] The holiday has been received widely by the Sarawak state government and citizens only since 2012, after public discontent about Merdeka Day being too Malaya-centric.[3][4][5]


Sarawakian citizens protested against the transforming of the Kingdom of Sarawak into a Crown colony.
The flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak used as the first flag of Sarawak after achieving an independence on 22 July 1963.

Originally, the Kingdom of Sarawak was granted independence by the Sultanate of Brunei in 1841, but came under British protection from 1888 onwards.[6] However, at this time, Sarawak was not "fully" granted independence.[7] After the end of World War II, the territory was administered by the British Military Administration, then became a Crown Colony in 1946.[8] The transferring of the territory to colonial administration has led to the major protest by Sarawakian citizens who wanted the independence of Sarawak to be restored. This led to the assassination of Duncan Stewart, the second governor of the Colony, by Rosli Dhobi,[9] who was captured and subsequently hanged for murder.[10] The position of the Governor was succeeded by Anthony Abell, who also became one of the members for the Cobbold Commission which brought Sarawak and North Borneo into the Federation of Malaysia.

Sarawak was granted independence on 22 July 1963, on the condition that it would join to formed the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September the same year.[11] During the Independence Day ceremony Alexander Waddell, the last Governor of the Colony, left the Astana and boarded a white sampan to cross the Sarawak River, then handed the administration of Sarawak to the Sarawakian citizens, with the Colonial flag lowered and the Sarawak flag raised.[12][13] Before he left, the Governor appointed Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the first Chief Minister of Sarawak.[13][14]

Further reading[edit]

Part of a series on the
History of Malaysia
The independence of Malaya and the merger proclamation of North Borneo and Sarawak to formed Malaysia.
Malaysia portal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Murray Hunter (27 July 2013). "Sarawak’s "Independence Day"". New Mandala. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Bob Teoh (6 August 2012). "Tanah airku - My homeland - 美丽的国家". Sin Chew Daily. Archived from the original on 30 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Numerous Events Organised For Sarawak Independence Celebration". Bernama. Sarawak Chief Minister Department. 28 March 2013. Archived from the original on 30 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Michael Kaung (27 August 2012). "Merdeka ‘no relevance’ to Sabah, Sarawak". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Sabah, Sarawak: 50 Years in Malaysia plagued by bad politics — Joe Fernadez". The Malay Mail. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Aloysius Yapp (January 2014). "Borneo Art Education - BAE" (PDF). International Journal of Education and Research II (1): 2. ISSN 2201-6333. 
  7. ^ Khairie Hisyam Aliman (13 September 2014). "No, Sarawak did not gain independence in 1841". The Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Patricia Pui Huen Lim; Diana Wong (2000). War and Memory in Malaysia and Singapore. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-981-230-037-9. 
  9. ^ Mike Thompson (12 March 2012). "The stabbed governor of Sarawak". BBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Antonia Chiam (22 September 2013). "Farewell to the Crown Prince". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Frans Welman. Borneo Trilogy Sarawak: Volume 2. Booksmango. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-616-245-089-1. 
  12. ^ "Sarawak ‘brave’ to celebrate July 22 independence day, says Kitingan". The Borneo Post. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "The day Sarawak was briefly an independent state". The Star. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 30 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Asia Yearbook. Far Eastern economic review. 1964.