Abang Haji Abdillah

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Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah (13 October 1862 – 21 November 1946) was Sarawak's independence patriot. He fought peacefully against the British colonisation of Sarawak after World War II.

He was the son of Datu Bandar Abang Haji Mohammad Kassim; who ruled Kuching as a mayor under the White Rajah's administration. He was also the grandson of Datu Bandar Abang Haji Bolhassan and a descendant of Datu Patinggi Ali who fought to achieve Sarawak's independence from Brunei. After the death of his father in Mecca, in 1921, he was given the title Datu Muda. In 1924, he became the Datu Bandar and then in 1937 he was given the title Datu Patinggi.


He made it clear when he said

"My people and I would never agree with the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown!...We cherish the independence of this state where we were born..."

"Saya dan rakyat tidak bersetuju dengan penyerahan Sarawak kepada Tanah Jajahan Mahkota British!...Saya dan rakyat mencintai kemerdekaan negeri ini, tanah tumpah darah saya..."

In a meeting with British officials, he clearly protested the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown; stating that the cession is illegal as the cession is not accepted by majority of the Bumiputra. Abdillah was a major proponent of Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke as the fourth White Rajah of Sarawak. However, the cession went on and he resigned from the State Supreme Council. He then started to oppose the British government in his speeches. Datu Abdillah opposed the use of violence. Realising the political threat, government officials in Sarawak were sent Circular no.9, which threaten the officials to be fired if they oppose the British Crown. Perhaps following the footsteps of Datu Patinggi, many of the Bumiputra officials resigned from their posts. Fearing a revolt, the British government resorted to the divide and conquer tactic. The British tried to spark the sense of animousity between the Malays and the Dayaks, however with little success.

Death and legacy[edit]

As a community leader, Abdillah helped to garner friendship and understanding between the Dayaks and Malays. Unfortunately, after his death the anti-cession movement lost its momentum and is quickly became disorganised without a leader. The violent techniques used by some anti-cessionists activists further quelled any patriotism. Britain ruled Sarawak until the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. A school was built in his name to honour, Kolej Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah.

See also[edit]


  • Malaysia History Textbook for Form 3 (Buku Teks Sejarah TIngkatan 3) Published by: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
  • Sulaiman, Haji Mohd. Hasbie (1989). Perjuangan Anti-Cession Sarawak. PGI Cipta Sdn Bhd. ISBN 983-99640-0-3.