Sarawak Self-government Day

Sarawak Day
Official name Hari Sarawak
Observed by Sarawak
Type State
Significance Marks the establishment of the self-government in Sarawak
Date 22 July
Next time 22 July 2017 (2017-07-22)
Frequency annual
The flag of the Kingdom of Sarawak used as the first flag of Sarawak after achieving a self-government on 22 July 1963.

Sarawak Self-government Day is a self-government day celebrated on 22 July every year by the state of Sarawak in Malaysia.[1][2][3][4][5] The holiday has been received widely by the Sarawak state government and citizens only since 2012, after public discontent about Hari Merdeka being too Malaya-centric.[6][7][8]

While Sarawak Self-government Day is often referred to as 'Independence Day', this is strictly speaking incorrect, since British legislation on Sarawak's self-government did not provide for its independence prior to it joining the federation of Malaysia.[9]


Sarawakian citizens protested against the transforming of the Kingdom of Sarawak into a Crown colony.

Originally, the Kingdom of Sarawak was granted independence by the Sultanate of Brunei in 1841, but came under British protection from 1888 onwards.[10] However, at this time, Sarawak was not "fully" granted independence.[11] After the end of World War II, the territory was administered by the British Military Administration, then became a Crown Colony in 1946.[12] 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,[13] who was captured and subsequently hanged for murder.[14] 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,[1] on the condition that it would join to form the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September the same year.[15] 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.[16][17] Before he left, the Governor appointed Stephen Kalong Ningkan as the first Chief Minister of Sarawak.[17][18]

In 2016, Chief Minister Adenan Satem announced 22 July a public holiday in Sarawak starting from 2016 in view of Sarawak Day.[19]

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Further reading

See also


  1. 1 2 "The National Archives DO 169/254 (Constitutional issues in respect of North Borneo and Sarawak on joining the federation)". The National Archives. 1961–1963. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  2. Vernon L. Porritt (1997). British Colonial Rule in Sarawak, 1946-1963. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-983-56-0009-8.
  3. Philip Mathews (28 February 2014). Chronicle of Malaysia: Fifty Years of Headline News, 1963-2013. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-967-10617-4-9.
  4. Murray Hunter (27 July 2013). "Sarawak's "Independence Day"". New Mandala. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  5. 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.
  6. "Numerous Events Organised For Sarawak Independence Celebration". Bernama. Sarawak Chief Minister Department. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  7. Michael Kaung (27 August 2012). "Merdeka 'no relevance' to Sabah, Sarawak". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  8. "Sabah, Sarawak: 50 Years in Malaysia plagued by bad politics — Joe Fernadez". The Malay Mail. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  9. A J Stockwell (editor) (2004). British Documents on the End of Empire, Series B Volume 8: Malaysia. The Stationery Office. p. lxxx.
  10. Aloysius Yapp (January 2014). "Borneo Art Education - BAE" (PDF). International Journal of Education and Research. II (1): 2. ISSN 2201-6333.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Mike Thompson (12 March 2012). "The stabbed governor of Sarawak". BBC News. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  14. Antonia Chiam (22 September 2013). "Farewell to the Crown Prince". The Borneo Post. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  15. Frans Welman. Borneo Trilogy Sarawak: Volume 2. Booksmango. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-616-245-089-1.
  16. "Sarawak 'brave' to celebrate July 22 independence day, says Kitingan". The Borneo Post. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  17. 1 2 "The day Sarawak was briefly an independent state". The Star. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  18. Asia Yearbook. Far Eastern economic review. 1964.
  19. "22 Julai diisytihar cuti umum Hari Sarawak". Berita Harian. 23 April 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
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