Sarikei folks residing outside of Sarawak may not be aware of the newer Divisions of Sarawak. Sarawak has 11 Divisions now and each is headed by a Resident and is subdivided into 2 to 4 districts. This form of administrative decentralisation is to enable the District Officer, the head of the civil service administration at the District level, to make day to day decisions.
Historical documents show that the formation of divisions started in 1841, covering the area from Sarawak River to Sadong river. In 1853, the Second Division was established covering Batang Lupar, Saribas and Kalaka, followed by Third Division in 1861, for Rejang, Oya, Mukah, Matu and Bintulu; Fourth Division in 1883 for Baram and Trusan and Fifth Division in 1912, for Limbang and Lawas. (Source: Borneo Post)
Sarikei was established as the 6th Division on the 2nd April 1973 and gazetted on 15th March 1973. Initially, Sarikei had an area of 6,969 square kilometer made up of Sarikei, Meradong, Julau, Matu and Daro Districts. Matu and Daro came under the new Mukah Division from 1st March 2002. With this change, Sarikei Division becomes the second smallest Divison after Betong with an area of 4,332.35 square kilometer. Betong became a Divison on 15 Mar 2002. Sarikei Division also lost Tanjung Manis to Mukah Division though it's is only half an hour away by express boat from Sarikei. Tanjung Manis is famous for its deep sea port and timber processing zone.
Confession time: how many readers are aware of the newer Divisions? Repeat after me: Kuching is the 1st Division and the rest (sequentially) are Sri Aman, Sibu, Miri, Limbang, Sarikei, Kapit, Kota Samarahan, Bintulu, Mukah and Betong.
Update: 7.1929 Sarikei became a district headquarters.