Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sarawak's Road to Independence

Students in mission and private schools wear individual style uniforms.

Sarawak's train named Bulan runs between Kuching town and the Tenth Mile.

On the left is Sir Alexander Waddell, the last colonial governor.

This is the 11th hour to the celebration of Merdeka Day for Malaysia. It is the 50th year of independence for West Malaysia and the 44th year for Sabah and Sarawak.

Here now is a pictorial look at Sarawak's road to independence abstacted from various sources, including from an early government-authorized History book,
The Story of Sarawak (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1968) that we were using in those days.

Sarawak was a crown colony of Great Britain from 1946 - 1963. Before that it was under the Brookes. Besides political and socio-economical development such as in the country's infrastructure under the Brookes, development was further accelerated as a crown colony in infrastructure (As shown in pics below) and later increasingly more so after independence in 1963.

Before Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore decide to form Malaysia with Malaya, the Cobbold Commission sends teams to find out the wishes of the Borneons. This is what the highly respected statesman and former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew notes in his eye-opening book The Singapore Story:

The Cobbold Commission's report was released at the same time that the agreement was signed. It was well-written, presenting the case in the best possible light. The commission's assessment of the wishes of the Borneo people was that one-third were strongly in favour of Malaysia's early realisation, without concern about the terms and the conditions. Another third favoured Malaysia but wanted safeguards. The remaining third were divided between those who preferred to see British rule continue for some years and a hard core, vocal and politically active, which will oppose Malaysia on any terms unless it is preceded by independence and self-government. In other words, never. On his part, Cobbold rejected a plea from the Borneo territories for the right to secede during a trial period. This was final (pp 442-3).

On 16th September, 1963 Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya form Malaysia. Singapore leaves in 1965.

1st Council Negeri Meeting following independence

Princely Dato Temenggong Jugah meets Khir Johari (The amazing humble affable West Malaysian Malay who refused all honorary titles while in office)

Sarawak's 1st post-colonial state governer takes a trip

The first democratically elected representative and Chief Minister of Sarawak is a highly popular Iban statesman, Dato Stephen Kalong Ningkan. His coalition party falls apart and he loses his leadership when parliament acts against him.

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