The first foragers visited the West Mouth of Niah Caves (located 110 kilometres (68 mi) southwest of Miri)[1] 40,000 years ago when Borneo was connected to the mainland of Southeast Asia. The landscape around the Niah Caves was drier and more exposed than it is now. Prehistorically, the Niah Caves were surrounded by a combination of closed forests with bush, parkland, swamps, and rivers. The foragers were able to survive in the rainforest through hunting, fishing, and gathering molluscs and edible plants.[2] This is evidenced by the discovery of a modern human skull, nicknamed “Deep Skull”, in a deep trench uncovered by Barbara and Tom Harrisson (a British ethnologist) in 1958;[1][3] this is also the oldest modern human skull in Southeast Asia.[4] The skull probably belongs to a 16-to 17-year-old adolescent girl.[2] Mesolithic and Neolithic burial sites have also been found.[5] The area around the Niah Caves has been designated the Niah National Park.[6] 

Another earlier excavation by Tom Harrisson in 1949 unearthed a series of Chinese ceramics at Santubong (near Kuching) that date to the Tang and the Song dynasties in the 8th to 13th century AD. It is possible that Santubong was an important seaport in Sarawak during the period, but its importance declined during the Yuan dynasty, and the port was deserted during the Ming dynasty.[7] Other archaeological sites in Sarawak can be found inside the Kapit, Song, Serian, and Bau districts.[8]



1. “Niah National Park – Early Human settlements” ( Sarawak Forestry. Archived from the original ( snp-np-niah.html) on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 

2. Faulkner, Neil (7 November 2003). Niah Cave, Sarawak, Borneo ( Current World Archaeology Issue 2. Archived from the original ( on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 

3. “History of the Great Cave of Niah” ( b/niahcave/history.htm). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original ( e/slab/niahcave/history.htm) on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 

4. “Niah Cave” ( niah-cave). Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Archived from the original (http://h on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2015.

5. Hirst, K. Kris. “Niah Cave (Borneo, Malaysia) – Anatomically modern humans in Borneo” ( 20071020233634/ Archived from the original ( on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 

6. “Niah National Park, Miri” ( tional-park-miri/). Sarawak Tourism Board. Archived from the original ( nal-park-miri/) on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 

7. Zheng, Dekun (1 January 1982). Studies in Chinese Archeology ( pg=PA49). The Chinese University Press. pp. 49, 50. ISBN 978-962-201-261-5. Retrieved 29 December 2015. “In case of Santubong, its association with T’ang and Sung porcelain would necessary provide a date of about 8th – 13th century A.D.” 

8. “Archeology” ( ology). Sarawak Muzium Department. Archived from the original ( ollection/archaeology) on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 

During the 16th century, the Kuching area was known to Portuguese cartographers as Cerava, one of the five great seaports on the island of Borneo.[1][2] Much of Sarawak was part of the Bruneian Empire. For a short period of time it was self-governed under the Sultan of Brunei’s younger brother, Sultan Tengah.[3] By the early 19th century, Sarawak had become a loosely governed territory under the control of the Brunei Sultanate. The Bruneian Empire had authority only along the coastal regions of Sarawak held by semi-independent Malay leaders. Meanwhile, the interior of Sarawak suffered from tribal wars fought by Iban, Kayan, and Kenyah peoples, who aggressively fought to expand their territories.[4] 

Following the discovery of antimony ore in the Kuching region, Pangeran Indera Mahkota (a representative of the Sultan of Brunei) began to develop the territory between 1824 and 1830. When antimony production increased, the Brunei Sultanate demanded higher taxes from Sarawak; this led to civil unrest and chaos.[5] In 1839, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II (1827–1852), ordered his uncle Pangeran Muda Hashim to restore order. Pangeran Muda Hashim requested the assistance of British sailor James Brooke in the matter, but Brooke refused.[6] However, in 1841 during his next visit to Sarawak in 1841 he agreed to a repeated request. Pangeran Muda Hashim signed a treaty in 1841 surrendering Sarawak to Brooke. On 24 September 1841,[7] Pangeran Muda Hashim bestowed the title of governor on James Brooke. This appointment was later confirmed by the Sultan of Brunei in 1842. In 1843, James Brooke decided to create a pro-British Brunei government by installing Pangeran Muda Hashim into the Brunei Court as he would take Brooke’s advice, forcing Brunei to appoint Hashim under the guns of East India Company’s steamer Phlegethon. The Brunei Court was unhappy with Hashim’s appointment and had him assassinated in 1845. In retaliation, James Brooke attacked Kampong Ayer, the capital of Brunei. After the incident, the Sultan of Brunei sent an apology letter to Queen Victoria. The sultan also confirmed James Brooke’s possession of Sarawak and his mining rights of antimony without paying tribute to Brunei.[8] In 1846 Brooke effectively became the Rajah of Sarawak and founded the White Rajah Dynasty of Sarawak.[9][10]



1. Donald F, Lach (15 July 2008). Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume I: The Century of Discovery, Book 1 (https://boo University of Chicago Press. p. 581. ISBN 978-0-226-46708- 5. Retrieved 21 March 2016. “… but Castanheda lists five great seaports that he says were known to the Portuguese. In his transcriptions they are called “Moduro” (Marudu?), “Cerava” (Sarawak?), “Laue” (Lawai), “Tanjapura” (Tanjungpura), and “Borneo” (Brunei) from which the island derives its name.” 

2. Broek, Jan O.M. (1962). “Place Names in 16th and 17th Century Borneo”. Imago Mundi. 16 (1): 134. doi:10.1080/03085696208592208 ( JSTOR 1150309 (https://www.jstor. org/stable/1150309). “Carena (for Carena), deep in the bight, refers to Sarawak, the Kuching area, where there is clear archaeological evidence of an ancient trade center just inland from Santubong.” 

3. Rozan Yunos (28 December 2008). “Sultan Tengah — Sarawak’s first Sultan” ( 100218/ The Brunei Times. Archived from the original ( on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 

4. Morrison, Alastair (1 January 1993). Fair Land Sarawak: Some Recollections of an Expatriate Official (https://books.g SEAP Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-87727-712-5. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

5. Ring, Trudy; Watson, Noelle; Schellinger, Paul (12 November 2012). Asia and Oceania: International Dictionary of Historic Places ( SEAP Publications. p. 497. ISBN 978-0-87727-712-5. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

6. B.A., Hussainmiya (2006). “The Brookes and the British North Borneo Company”. Brunei – Revival of 1906 – A popular history ( (PDF). Bandar Seri Begawan: Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. p. 6. ISBN 99917-32-15-2. Archived from the original (http://fas (PDF) on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 

7. Reece, Robert. “Empire in Your Backyard – Sir James Brooke” ( Archived from the original ( article/plymouth/jamesbrooke.htm) on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

8. Saunders, Graham (5 November 2013). A History of Brunei ( g=PA80). Routledge. pp. 74–77. ISBN 978-1-136-87394-2. Retrieved 24 November 2016. 

9. James Leasor (1 January 2001). Singapore: The Battle That Changed the World ( =Tl9tx4MJYf4C&pg=PA41). House of Stratus. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-7551-0039-2. 

10. Alex Middleton (June 2010). “Rajah Brooke and the Victorians” ( e%20608/volume-608-I-8809-English.pdf) (PDF). The Historical Journal. 53 (2): 381–400. doi:10.1017/S0018246X10000063 ( ISSN 1469-5103 (https://www.worl Retrieved 24 December 2014. 

Brooke ruled the area and expanded the territory northwards until his death in 1868. He was succeeded by his nephew Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke, who in turn was succeeded by his son, Charles Vyner Brooke, on the condition that Charles Anthoni should rule in consultation with Vyner Brooke’s brother Bertram Brooke.[1] Both James and Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke pressured Brunei to sign treaties as a strategy to acquire territories from Brunei and expand the territorial boundaries of Sarawak. In 1861, Brunei ceded the Bintulu region to James Brooke. Sarawak was recognised as an independent state by the United States in 1850 and the United Kingdom in 1864. The state issued its first currency as the Sarawak dollar in 1858.[2] In 1883 Sarawak was extended to the Baram River (near Miri). Limbang was added to Sarawak in 1890. The final expansion of Sarawak occurred in 1905 when Lawas was ceded to the Brooke government.[3][4] Sarawak was divided into five divisions, corresponding to territorial boundaries of the areas acquired by the Brookes through the years. Each division was headed by a Resident.[5] 

Sarawak became a British protectorate in 1888, while still ruled by the Brooke dynasty. The Brookes ruled Sarawak for a hundred years as “White Rajahs”.[6] The Brookes adopted a policy of paternalism to protect the interests of the indigenous population and their overall welfare. While the Brooke government established a Supreme Council consisting of Malay chiefs who advised the Rajahs on all aspects of governance,[7] in the Malaysian context the Brooke family is viewed as a colonialist.[8] The Supreme Council is the oldest state legislative assembly in Malaysia, with the first General Council meeting taking place at Bintulu in 1867.[9] Meanwhile, the Ibans and other Dayak people were hired as militia.[10] The Brooke dynasty encouraged the immigration of Chinese merchants for economic development, especially in the mining and agricultural sectors.[7] Western capitalists were restricted from entering the state while Christian missionaries were tolerated.[7] Piracy, slavery, and headhunting were banned.[11] Borneo Company Limited was formed in 1856. It was involved in a wide range of businesses in Sarawak such as trade, banking, agriculture, mineral exploration, and development.[12]

In 1857, 500 Hakka Chinese gold miners from Bau, under the leadership of Liu Shan Bang, destroyed the Brooke’s house. Brooke escaped and organised a bigger army together with his nephew Charles[13] and his Malayo-Iban supporters.[7] A few days later, Brooke’s army was able to cut off the escape route of the Chinese rebels, who were annihilated after two months of fighting.[14] The Brookes subsequently built a new government house by the Sarawak River at Kuching.[15][16] An anti-Brooke faction at the Brunei Court was defeated in 1860 at Mukah. Other notable rebellions that were successfully quashed by the Brookes include those led by an Iban leader Rentap (1853–1863), and a Malay leader named Syarif Masahor (1860–1862).[7] As a result, a series of forts were built around Kuching to consolidate the Rajah’s power. These include Fort Margherita, which was completed in 1879.[16] In 1891 Charles Anthoni Brooke established the Sarawak Museum, the oldest museum in Borneo.[16][17] In 1899, Charles Anthoni Brooke ended the intertribal wars in Marudi. The first oil well was drilled in 1910. Two years later, the Brooke Dockyard opened. Anthony Brooke was born in the same year and became Rajah Muda in 1939.[18] 

In 1941, during the centenary celebration of Brooke rule in Sarawak, a new constitution was introduced to limit the power of the Rajah and to allow the Sarawak people to play a greater role in the functioning of the government.[19] However, the draft included a secret agreement drawn up between Charles Vyner Brooke and British government officials, in which Vyner Brooke ceded Sarawak as a British Crown Colony in return for a financial compensation to him and his family.[20]



1. Mike, Reed. “Book review of “The Name of Brooke – The End of White Rajah Rule in Sarawak” by R.H.W. Reece, Sarawak Literary Society, 1993″ ( eatures/bk_review/brooke.html). Archived from the original ( atures/bk_review/brooke.html) on 8 June 2003. Retrieved 7 August 2015.

2. Cuhaj, George S (2014). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money, General Issues, 1368–1960 ( com/books?id=tmOYCAAAQBAJ&pg=PA1058). F+W Media. p. 1058. ISBN 978-1-4402-4267-0. Retrieved 13 January 2016. “Sarawak was recognised as a separate state by the United States (1850) and Great Britain (1864), and voluntarily became a British protectorate in 1888.” 

3. James, Stuart Olson (1996). Historical Dictionary of the British Empire, Volume 2 ( =f0VnzMelzm8C&pg=PA982). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 982. ISBN 978-0-313-29367-2. Retrieved 29 October 2015. “Brooke and his successors enlarged their realm by successive treaties of 1861, 1882, 1885, 1890, and 1905.” 

4. “Chronology of Sarawak throughout the Brooke Era to Malaysia Day” ( The Borneo Post. 16 September 2011. Archived from the original ( f-sarawak-throughout-the-brooke-era-to-malaysia-day/) on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

5. Lim, Kian Hock (16 September 2011). “A look at the civil administration of Sarawak” ( 50206232438/ The Borneo Post. Archived from the original ( ak/) on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 

6. Frans, Welman (2011). Borneo Trilogy Sarawak: Volume 1 ( =PA177). Bangkok, Thailand: Booksmango. p. 177. ISBN 978-616-245-082-2. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

7. Ooi, Keat Gin (2013). Post-war Borneo, 1945–50: Nationalism, Empire and State-Building ( books?id=RzVUOidajPAC&pg=PA7). Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-134-05803-7. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

8. Rujukan Kompak Sejarah PMR (Compact reference for PMR History subject) ( wkGzNAZnoC&pg=PA82) (in Malay). Arah Pendidikan Sdn Bhd. 2009. p. 82. ISBN 978-983-3718-81-8. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 

9. “Bintulu – Places of Interest” ( d=webpage&sub=page&id=49&menu_id=0&sub_id=66). Bintulu Development Authority. Archived from the original (ht tp:// on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 

10. Marshall, Cavendish (2007). World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia, Volume 9 ( books?id=72VwCFtYHCgC&pg=PA1182). Bangladesh: Marshall Cavendish. p. 1182. ISBN 978-0-7614-7642-9. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

11. Lewis, Samuel Feuer (1 January 1989). Imperialism and the Anti-Imperialist Mind ( =4uyHHyMoGhMC&pg=PA117). Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4128-2599-3. Retrieved 2 November 2015. “Brooke made it his life task to bring to these jungles “prosperity, education, and hygiene”; he suppressed piracy, slave-trade, and headhunting, and lived simply in a thatched bungalow.” 

12. “The Borneo Company Limited” ( articles/SIP_1248_2007-07-02.html). National Library Board. Archived from the original ( nfopedia/articles/SIP_1248_2007-07-02.html) on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 

13. Sendou Ringgit, Danielle (5 April 2015). “The Bau Rebellion: What sparked it all?” ( 322084126/ The Borneo Post. Archived from the original ( on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016. “The Rajah then came back days later with a bigger army and bigger guns aboard the Borneo Company steamer, the Sir James Brooke together with his nephew, Charles Brooke.” 

14. “石隆门华工起义 (The uprising of Bau Chinese labourers)” ( (in Chinese). 国际时报 [International Times (Sarawak)]. 13 September 2008. Archived from the original ( on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 

15. Ting, John. “Colonialism and Brooke administration: Institutional buildings and infrastructure in 19th century Sarawak” ( (PDF). University of Melbourne. Retrieved 13 January 2016. “Brooke also indigenised himself in terms of housing – his first residence was a Malay house. (page 9) … Government House (Fig. 3) was built after Brooke’s first house was burnt down during the 1857 coup attempt. (page 10)

16. Simon, Elegant (13 July 1986). “SARAWAK: A KINGDOM IN THE JUNGLE” ( 83010/ The New York Times. Archived from the original ( html?pagewanted=all) on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

17. Saiful, Bahari (23 June 2015). “Thrill is gone, state museum stuck in time — Public” ( 51002091817/ The Borneo Post. Archived from the original ( -in-time-public/) on 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

18. “History of Sarawak” ( Brooke Trust. Archived from the original ( on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 

19. “Centenary of Brooke rule in Sarawak – New Democratic Constitution being introduced today” (http://eresources.nlb.g The Straits Times (Singapore). 24 September 1941. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

20. Leafe, David (17 March 2011). “The last of the White Rajahs: The extraordinary story of the Victorian adventurer who subjugated a vast swathe of Borneo” ( 066/The-White-Rajahs-The-extraordinary-story-Victorian-adventurer-subjugated-vast-swathe-Borneo.html). Mail Online (UK). Archived from the original ( ordinary-story-Victorian-adventurer-subjugated-vast-swathe-Borneo.html) on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2015. “Vyner agreed to cede it to the British Crown in return for a substantial financial settlement for him and his family. So it became Britain’s last colonial acquisition.” 

The Brooke government, under the leadership of Charles Vyner Brooke, established several airstrips in Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri for preparations in the event of war. By 1941, the British had withdrawn its defending forces from Sarawak to Singapore. With Sarawak now unguarded, the Brooke regime decided to adopt a scorched earth policy where oil installations in Miri would be destroyed and the Kuching airfield will be held as long as possible before being destroyed. Meanwhile, Japanese forces seized British Borneo to guard their eastern flank in the Malayan Campaign and to facilitate their invasion of Sumatra and West Java. A Japanese invasion force led by Kiyotake Kawaguchi landed in Miri on 16 December 1941 (eight days into the Malayan Campaign) and conquered Kuching on 24 December 1941. British forces led by Lieutenant Colonel C. M. Lane retreated to Singkawang in Dutch Borneo bordering Sarawak. After ten weeks of fighting in Dutch Borneo, the Allied forces surrendered on 1 April 1942.[1] When the Japanese invaded Sarawak, Charles Vyner Brooke had already left for Sydney, Australia while his officers were captured by the Japanese and interned at the Batu Lintang camp.[2]

Sarawak remained part of the Empire of Japan for three years and eight months. Sarawak, together with North Borneo and Brunei, formed a single administrative unit named Kita Boruneo (Northern Borneo)[3] under the Japanese 37th Army headquartered in Kuching. Sarawak was divided into three provinces, namely: Kuching-shu, Sibu-shu, and Miri-shu, each under their respective Japanese Provincial Governor. The Japanese retained pre-war administrative machinery and assigned Japanese for government positions. The administration of Sarawak’s interior was left to the native police and village headmen, under Japanese supervision. Though the Malays were typically receptive toward the Japanese, other indigenous tribes such as the Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit and Lun Bawang maintained a hostile attitude toward them because of policies such as compulsory labour, forced deliveries of foodstuffs, and confiscation of firearms. The Japanese did not resort to strong measures in clamping down on the Chinese population because the Chinese in the state were generally apolitical. However, a considerable number of Chinese moved from urban areas into the less accessible interior to lessen contact with the Japanese.[4] 

Allied forces later formed the Z Special Unit to sabotage Japanese operations in Southeast Asia. Beginning in March 1945, Allied commanders were parachuted into Borneo jungles and established several bases in Sarawak under an operation codenamed “Semut”. Hundreds of indigenous people were trained to launch offensives against the Japanese. [5] During the battle of North Borneo, the Australian forces landed at Lutong-Miri area on 20 June 1945 and had penetrated as far as Marudi and Limbang before halting their operations in Sarawak.[6] After the surrender of Japan, the Japanese surrendered to the Australian forces at Labuan on 10 September 1945.[7][8] This was followed by the official surrender ceremony at Kuching aboard the Australian Corvette HMAS Kapunda on 11 September 1945.[9] The Batu Lintang camp was liberated on the same day.[10] Sarawak was immediately placed under British Military Administration until April 1946.[11]



1. Klemen, L (1999). “The Invasion of British Borneo in 1942” ( Archived from the original (http://www.dutcheas on 2015-04-01. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

2. “The Japanese Occupation (1941 – 1945)” ( The Sarawak Government. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

3. Gin, Ooi Keat (1 January 2013). “Wartime Borneo, 1941–1945: a tale of two occupied territories” (http://www.thefreeli,+1941-1945%3A+a+tale+of+two+occupied+territories.-a0375949172). Borneo Research Bulletin. Retrieved 3 November 2015. “Occupied Borneo was administratively partitioned into two halves, namely Kita Boruneo (Northern Borneo) that coincided with pre-war British Borneo (Sarawak, Brunei, and North Borneo) was governed by the IJA, …” 

4. Kratoska, Paul H. (13 May 2013). Southeast Asian Minorities in the Wartime Japanese Empire ( om/books?id=NZWqvMBu80kC&pg=PA136). Routledge. pp. 136–142. ISBN 978-1-136-12506-5. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

5. Ooi, Keat Gin. “Prelude to invasion: covert operations before the re-occupation of Northwest Borneo, 1944–45” (http s:// Journal of the Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

6. Australia in the War of 1939-1945. Series 1 – Army – Volume VII – The Final Campaigns (1st edition, 1963) – Chapter 20 – Securing British Borneo ( Australia: The Australian War Memorial. 1963. p. 491. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 

7. “Historical Monument – Surrender Point” (;jsessionid=10C 59E905CBE1CA017EA2CC8600CEF41). Official Website of Labuan Corporation. Labuan Corporation. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

8. Rainsford, Keith Carr. “Surrender to Major-General Wootten at Labuan” ( Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

9. “HMAS Kapunda” ( Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original ( on 27 March 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 

10. Patricia, Hului (12 September 2016). “Celebrating Batu Lintang Camp liberation day on Sept 11” (http://seeds.theborn The Borneo Post. Retrieved 17 June 2017.

11. “British Military Administration (August 1945 – April 1946)” ( 47/). The Sarawak Government. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 


After the war, the Brooke government did not have enough resources to rebuild Sarawak. Charles Vyner Brooke was also not willing to hand over his power to his heir apparent, Anthony Brooke (his nephew, the only son of Bertram Brooke) because of serious differences between them.[1][note 1] Furthermore, Vyner Brooke’s wife, Sylvia Brett, tried to defame Anthony Brooke in order to install her daughter to the throne. Faced with these problems, Vyner Brooke decided to cede sovereignty of Sarawak to the British Crown.[2] A Cession Bill was put forth in the Council Negeri (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) and was debated for three days. The bill was passed on 17 May 1946 with a narrow majority (19 versus 16 votes). Supporters of the bill were mostly European officers, while the Malays opposed the bill. This caused hundreds of Malay civil servants to resign in protest, sparking an anti-cession movement and the assassination of the second colonial governor of Sarawak Sir Duncan Stewart by Rosli Dhobi.[3] 

Anthony Brooke opposed the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown, and was linked to anti-cessionist groups in Sarawak, especially after the assassination of Sir Duncan Stewart.[4] Anthony Brooke continued to claim sovereignty as Rajah of Sarawak even after Sarawak became a British Crown colony on 1 July 1946.[2] For this he was banished from Sarawak by the colonial government[6][note 2] and was allowed to return only 17 years later for a nostalgic visit, when Sarawak became part of Malaysia.[5] In 1950 all anti-cession movements in Sarawak ceased after a clamp-down by the colonial government.[1] In 1951 Anthony relinquished all his claims to the Sarawak throne after he used up his last legal avenue at the Privy Council.[5]



1. Morrison, Alastair (1 January 1993). Fair Land Sarawak: Some Recollections of an Expatriate Official (https://books.g SEAP Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-87727-712-5. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

2. Leafe, David (17 March 2011). “The last of the White Rajahs: The extraordinary story of the Victorian adventurer who subjugated a vast swathe of Borneo” ( 066/The-White-Rajahs-The-extraordinary-story-Victorian-adventurer-subjugated-vast-swathe-Borneo.html). Mail Online (UK). Archived from the original ( ordinary-story-Victorian-adventurer-subjugated-vast-swathe-Borneo.html) on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2015. “Vyner agreed to cede it to the British Crown in return for a substantial financial settlement for him and his family. So it became Britain’s last colonial acquisition.” 

3. “Sarawak as a British Crown Colony (1946–1963)” ( The Official Website of the Sarawak Government. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 

4. Thomson, Mike (14 March 2012). “The stabbed governor of Sarawak” ( 3). BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

5. “Anthony Brooke” ( The Daily Telegraph. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 

6. Ooi, Keat Gin (2013). Post-war Borneo, 1945–50: Nationalism, Empire and State-Building ( books?id=RzVUOidajPAC&pg=PA7). Routledge. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-134-05803-7. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 

On 27 May 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the prime minister of the Federation of Malaya, announced a plan to form a greater federation together with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei, to be called Malaysia. This plan caused the local leaders in Sarawak to be wary of Tunku’s intentions in view of the great disparity in socioeconomic development between Malaya and the Borneo states. There was a general fear that without a strong political institution, the Borneo states would be subjected to Malaya’s colonisation. Therefore, various political parties in Sarawak emerged to protect the interests of the communities they represented.[2] On 17 January 1962, the Cobbold Commission was formed to gauge the support of Sarawak and Sabah for the proposed federation. Between February and April 1962, the commission met more than 4,000 people and received 2,200 memoranda from various groups. The commission reported divided support among the Borneo population. However, Tunku interpreted the figures as 80 percent support for the federation.[3][4] Sarawak proposed an 18-point memorandum to safeguard its interests in the federation. In September 1962, Sarawak Council Negri (now Sarawak state legislative assembly) passed a resolution that supported the federation with a condition that the interests of the Sarawak people would not be compromised. On 23 October 1962, five political parties in Sarawak formed a united front that supported the formation of Malaysia.[2] Sarawak was officially granted self-government on 22 July 1963,[7][6] and formed the federation of Malaysia with Malaya, North Borneo, and Singapore on 16 September 1963.[7][8]

The Malaysian federation had drawn opposition from the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei People’s Party, and the Sarawak-based communist groups. The Philippines and Indonesia claimed that the British would be “neocolonising” the Borneo states through the federation.[9] Meanwhile, A. M. Azahari, leader of the Brunei People’s Party, instigated the Brunei Revolt in December 1962 to prevent Brunei from joining the Malaysian federation.[10] Azahari seized Limbang and Bekenu before being defeated by British military forces sent from Singapore. Claiming that the Brunei revolt was solid evidence of opposition to the Malaysian federation, Indonesian President Sukarno ordered a military confrontation with Malaysia, sending armed volunteers and later military forces into Sarawak, which became a flashpoint during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation between 1962 and 1966.[11][12] The confrontation gained little support from Sarawakians except from the Sarawak communists. Thousands of communist members went into Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and underwent training with the Communist Party of Indonesia. During the confrontation, around 10,000 to 150,000 British troops were stationed in Sarawak, together with Australian and New Zealand troops. When Suharto replaced Sukarno as the president of Indonesia, negotiations were restarted between Malaysia and Indonesia which led to the end of the confrontation on 11 August 1966. 

After the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the ideology of Maoism started to influence Chinese schools in Sarawak. The first communist group in Sarawak was formed in 1951, with its origins in the Chung Hua Middle School (Kuching). The group was succeeded by the Sarawak Liberation League (SLL) in 1954. Its activities spread from schools to trade unions and farmers. They were mainly concentrated in the southern and central regions of Sarawak. Communist members successfully penetrated the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). SLL tried to realise a communist state in Sarawak through constitutional means but during the confrontation period, it resorted to armed struggle against the government.[1][note 3] Weng Min Chyuan and Bong Kee Chok were the two notable leaders of the SLL. Following this, the Sarawak government relocated Chinese villagers into security-guarded settlements along the Kuching–Serian road to prevent the communists from getting material support from the villagers. North Kalimantan Communist Party (NKCP) (also known as Clandestine Communist Organisation (CCO) by government sources) was formally set up in 1970. In 1973, Bong surrendered to chief minister Abdul Rahman Ya’kub; this significantly reduced the strength of the communist party. However, Weng, who had directed the CCO from China since the mid-1960s, called for armed struggle against the government, which after 1974 continued in the Rajang Delta. In 1989 the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) signed a peace agreement with the government of Malaysia. This caused the NKCP to reopen negotiations with the Sarawak government, which led to a peace agreement on 17 October 1990. Peace was restored in Sarawak after the final group of 50 communist guerrillas laid down their arms.[13][14]



1. Morrison, Alastair (1 January 1993). Fair Land Sarawak: Some Recollections of an Expatriate Official (https://books.g SEAP Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-87727-712-5. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

2. Tai, Yong Tan (2008). “Chapter Six: Borneo Territories and Brunei”. Creating “Greater Malaysia”: Decolonization and the Politics of Merger ( Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 154–169. ISBN 978-981-230-747-7. Retrieved 8 November 2015. “Underlying this was a general fear that without strong political institutions, … (page 155)” 

3. “Formation of Malaysia 16 September 1963” ( ber-1963?p_p_id=56_INSTANCE_Oj0d&p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-i nner-3&p_p_col_count=1&page=1). National Archives of Malaysia. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 

4. JC, Fong (16 September 2011). “Formation of Malaysia” ( aysia/). The Borneo Post. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 

5. Vernon L. Porritt (1997). British Colonial Rule in Sarawak, 1946–1963 ( AMAAJ). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-983-56-0009-8. Retrieved 7 May 2016. 

6. Philip Mathews (28 February 2014). Chronicle of Malaysia: Fifty Years of Headline News, 1963–2013 (https://books.g Editions Didier Millet. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-967-10617-4-9. 

7. “Trust and Non-self governing territories” ( decolonization/trust2.htm#3). United Nations. Archived from the original ( trust2.htm) on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 

8. “United Nations Member States” ( 469.doc.htm). United Nations. 3 July 2006. Archived from the original ( htm#_edn16) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 

9. Ishikawa, Noboru (15 March 2010). Between Frontiers: Nation and Identity in a Southeast Asian Borderland (https://b Ohio University Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN 978-0-89680-476-0. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 

10. “Brunei Revolt breaks out – 8 December 1962” ( 6-c3e1763e5a10). National Library Board (Singapore). Retrieved 9 November 2015. 

11. United Nations Treaty Registered No. 8029, Manila Accord between Philippines, Federation of Malaya and Indonesia (31 July 1963) ( Archived (h ttps:// 11 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 12 August 2011. 

12. United Nations Treaty Series No. 8809, Agreement relating to the implementation of the Manila Accord (http://untreat Archived ( org/unts/1_60000/18/5/00034224.pdf) 12 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 12 August 2011. 

13. James, Chin. “Book Review: The Rise and Fall of Communism in Sarawak 1940–1990” ( eview/book-review-the-rise-and-fall-of-communism-in-sarawak-1940-1990/). Kyoto Review of South East Asia. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 

14. Chan, Francis; Wong, Phyllis (16 September 2011). “Saga of communist insurgency in Sarawak” (http://www.theborne The Borneo Post. Retrieved 10 January 2013.


The Malaysian Census 2010 reports that Kuching has a population of 325,132. The city population (North and South) consists of Malays (146,580), Chinese (120,860), Iban (28,691), Bidayuh (13,681), Non-Malaysian citizens (7,216), other Sarawak Bumiputras (Orang Ulu) (3,250), Melanau (2,078), Indian (1,626) and others (1,140). 

Sarawak Malays

Based on the official census information of the Sarawak Malay population has increased from decade to decade. The Sarawak Malay population, which is only 17% of Sarawak’s population, has now increased to 23.4% by 2015. This percentage makes Sarawak’s second largest population after Iban (28%) and leaving China (23.0%), Bidayuh (8%), Melanau (7%), Orang Ulu (6%) and other residents. In the 1947 census the population of Melanau was incorporated into the Malay Malays and if this was taken into account then the Malay-Muslim population in 2015 was 30.4%. 

The Sarawak Malays have long endured the transition and have long been living in all Divisions. They are not only in the coast and the middle of the river but also in the interior of the state of Sarawak.

Milestones & Achievements 

By inheriting written civilization, the Sarawak Malays succeeded in being in power. Brooke also once made Jawi-Melayu as the official language of writing and teaching white-minded officials to learn Malay speaking and writing Jawi-Melayu. Furthermore, the majority of bumiputera administrators are Malay people who are good at writing Jawi-Melayu. As their most senior administrative officer was appointed a member of the State Council, which is similar to the State Legislative Assembly. The Sarawak Malay experience in managing and administering the state has succeeded in maintaining power until the Age of Merdeka, except in the period 1963-1973. The Independence Day leaders are His Excellency Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak consisting of:

  • Tun Abang Haji Openg Abang Sap’iee 
  • Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Haji Bujang Tuanku Othman 
  • Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Muhammad Sallahudin 
  • Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Ya’kub 
  • Tun Datuk Patinggi Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Muhammad Nor 
  • Pehin Sri Tun Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud 

Meanwhile, the post of Chief Minister was held by:

  • Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Ya’kub Pehin Sri 
  • Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud 
  • Datuk Patinggi Haji Adenan Satem 

In addition, the position of the State Secretary was also held by the Malay children such as:

  • Datuk Abang Yusuf Puteh 
  • Tan Sri Haji Bujang Muhammad Nor 
  • Tan Sri Haji Hamid Bugo 
  • Tan Sri Haji Abdul Aziz Hussain 
  • Tan Sri Morshidi Abdul Ghani

1. Amanah Khairat Yayasan Budaya Melayu Sarawak,