James Wong (politician)

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Datuk Amar
James Wong Kim Min
Leader of the Opposition of Malaysia
In office
24 August 1974 – 30 October 1974
Monarch Abdul Halim
Prime Minister Abdul Razak
Preceded by Lim Kit Siang
Succeeded by Edmund Langgu Saga
Constituency Miri-Lubis
Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak
In office
Preceded by Post created
3rd President of Sarawak National Party
In office
Preceded by Dunstan Endawie Enchana
Succeeded by Edwin Dundang Bugak
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Bintulu
In office
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Miri-Lubis
In office
Member of the Sarawak State Assembly
for Limbang
In office
Succeeded by Richard Wong Shoan Fook
Personal details
Born (1922-08-06)6 August 1922
Limbang, Kingdom of Sarawak
Died 18 July 2011(2011-07-18) (aged 88)
Kuching, Sarawak
Citizenship Malaysian
Political party Sarawak National Party (SNAP)
Spouse(s) Valerie Bong
Children 5 daughters, 3 sons
Occupation Politician

Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min (Chinese: 黄金明; pinyin: huáng jīn míng) (6 August 1922 – 18 July 2011) was a Malaysian politician active in the politics of Sarawak for decades.[1][2] Wong holds the record as the longest serving assemblyman in the history of the state of Sarawak, holding the office for nearly fifty years.[3] Wong served as the first Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak and the president of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP).[3] He held several other ministries of Sarawak politics until his retirement in 2001.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Wong was born in Limbang, Kingdom of Sarawak, on 6 August 1922.[2] Sarawak was a British protectorate at the time.[2]

Early political career[edit]

He began his political career in 1951, when he was elected to the Limbang District Council.[2]

In 1956, Wong was elected to Sarawak's legislature, the Council Negri, which is now known as the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.[2] He continued to hold office in the Legislative Assembly until his retirement in 2001.

Malaysia became an independent country in 1963. Wong had been a member of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee's Sarawak delegation in 1962, which negotiated the formation of the new nation.[2] Stephen Kalong Ningkan, the then president of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP), became the first Chief Minister of Sarawak, while Wong became the state's first deputy Chief Minister.[2]

Member of the opposition[edit]

SNAP pulled out of the national coalition government, led by the Alliance Party, and became an opposition party. Wong, a member of the SNAP, won a seat in the Parliament of Malaysia in the 1969 general election, representing the Miri-Subis constituency.[2] Wong became the leader of the Malaysian Opposition in August 1974.[2] Wong would later be arrested under the Internal Security Act on 30 October 1974 and held at the Kamunting Detention Centre for several years.[4][2] In 1981, Wong became the third president of the Sarawak National Party.[2]

Reconciliation with Barisan Nasional[edit]

Wong's Sarawak National Party reconciled and rejoined the successor of the Alliance, the Barisan Nasional. Under the new coalition, Wong became a minister in Sarawak's state cabinet, holding several portfolios during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Wong became the Environment and Tourism Minister of Sarawak from 1987 to 1994.[2] He then became the state Minister of Environment and Housing from 1995 to 1997 and finally the state Minister of Environment and Public Health from 1998 until his retirement in 2001.[2] In 2001, Wong, who was still serving as Environment Minister, was awarded the Langkawi Award for to work in launching a sea turtle satellite tracking program and spearheading a new reefball project for coral reefs.[2]

Retirement from politics[edit]

Wong retired from politics in 2001. He continued to author new books and poems during his retirement. Wong authored The Price of Loyalty, a book about his imprisonment at the Kamunting detention center under the Internal Security Act.[2] By 2003, Wong had published the third addition of The Birth of Malaysia, a history of the country.[2] He also released a third book, Memories of Speeches at the Council Negri.[2] In addition to his books, Wong also wrote poetry during his later life. His poetry collections included A Special Breed in 1981, Shimmering Moonbeams in 1983, Buy a Little Time in 1989 and Beautiful Butterfly in 2009.[2]

Wong also spearheaded the push to have Malaysia Day declared a national holiday.[2] In 2010, Malaysia Day was finally declared an official holiday, to be celebrated nationwide on 16 September of every year.[2] Wong spoke of Malaysia Day in 2010 saying, "It is my hope that Malaysia Day will be celebrated every 16 September. People should remember it because it's a historic occasion."[2]


James Wong suffered a heart attack on 18 July 2011. He died shortly after 10 a.m. at the Normah Medical Specialist Centre in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, at the age of 90.[3] Wong was survived by his wife, Datin Amar Valerie Bong; five daughters; three sons; thirteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.[2]

He was buried in Limbang at the family cemetery in Jalan Pandaruan.[5] Dignitaries in attendance included members of each of Sarawak's major ethnic groups, including the Chinese, the Kedayan, Brunei Malays, Bisaya and Iban. [5]

Sarawak's government announced that it will put together an exhibit of Wong's documents at the state museum.[6]


  1. ^ http://www.questia.com/library/1G1-290733382/datuk-amar-james-wong-kim-min
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Ling, Sharon (19 July 2011). "James Wong dies". The Star (Malaysia). Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ling, Sharon (18 July 2011). "First Sarawak Deputy CM and former SNAP chief James Wong dies at age 89". The Star (Malaysia). Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Sarawak party leader seized". The Age (Australia). 31 October 1974. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Heavens open as James Wong laid to rest". Borneo Post. 23 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sarawak Mulls Exhibition To Recognise Datuk Amar James Wong's Legacy". Bernama. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Lim Kit Siang
Leader of the Opposition of Malaysia
August 1974 – October 1974
Succeeded by
Edmund Langgu Saga
Preceded by
Post created
Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dunstan Endawie Enchana
President of Sarawak National Party
Succeeded by
Edwin Dundang Bugak