|Official name||Sarawak Independence Day|
|Significance||Marks the establishment of the self-government in Sarawak|
|Next time||22 July 2018|
Sarawak Day (or Sarawak Independence Day) is a holiday observed on 22 July every year by the state of Sarawak in Malaysia, celebrating the establishment of self-government in Sarawak on 22 July 1963.
In fact, Sarawak Day is officially known as 'Sarawak Independence Day', as approved and gazetted by the government of Sarawak in 2016. It is so-named to raise awareness about Sarawak's past and contributions of its past leaders. Despite this official name, there are those who avoided using this title, some due to lack of awareness of its legality, while some suggested that it is historically inaccurate, citing British legislation on Sarawak's self-government did not provide for a total independence prior to it joining the federation of Malaysia.
The idea of a Sarawakian holiday was mooted by the Sarawak state government and citizens since 2012, after public discontent about Hari Merdeka being too Malaya-centric. Sarawak Day was officially declared as a public holiday for the first time in 2016.
Originally, the Kingdom of Sarawak was granted independence by the Sultanate of Brunei in 1841, but came under British protection from 1888 onwards. However, at this time, Sarawak was not "fully" granted independence. After the end of World War II, the territory was administered by the British Military Administration, then became a Crown Colony in 1946. 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, who was captured and subsequently hanged for murder. 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 self-government on 22 July 1963, on the condition that it would join to form the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September the same year. It is sometime alleged that before the self-government ceremony on 22 July 1963, 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. However reputable historians recognise this is a fictitious account. Before he left, the Governor appointed Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the first Chief Minister of Sarawak.
Part of a series on the
|History of Malaysia|
The hoisting of the Kingdom of Sarawak flag on the civilian compound of the Kuching POW and internment camp on 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.
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