Sunday, September 02, 2007

History - Sarikei Part 4a. 1946 - Sarawak cession to the British

The Brooke era lasted from 1841-1941 in Sarawak. The Japanese occupied Sarawak during World War II from 1941-1945. At the end of 1945, Sarawak was nominally an independent country under the Brooke dynasty.


Flag of The Kingdom of Sarawak (1870-1946); Crown Colony of Sarawak (1946-1963); State of Sarawak (1963-1973).


Vyner Brooke formally ceded sovereignty to the British Crown on July 1, 1946, following a controversial vote in Sarawak's Council Negri (legislature). Sarawak became a British colony (it was formerly an independent state under British protection).

His nephew, Anthony Brooke, continued to claim sovereignty as Rajah of Sarawak. (Source: 1) He was District Officer of Sarikei in 1941. He was linked to the anti-cession movement. (Cession means ceding of territory to another country by treaty.)

Vyner Brooke, in 1941, promised Sarawak independence but then handed over Sarawak to be a colony in 1946. This was what started the anti-cession movement (source 3). Protests happened from 1946-1949, after which the British Government closed all legitimate means of reversing this change in constitutional status.


Malaysia--new States in a New Nation: Political Development of Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia. By K.J. Ratnam, R. S. Milne


The cession of Sarawak produced a split in the Malay community. In 1949, some Malays who opposed the cession assassinated the first British Governor of Sarawak, Duncan George Stewart. (Source: 2). Duncan was been welcomed by a line of school children during his first official visit to Sibu on 3 Dec 1949 when he was assassinated. (Source: 4)

John Pike, a Magistrate, 3rd Class, acted as the defense counsel for the accused. (John Pike succeeded Alastair Morrison as Assistant District Officer of Sarikei District in early 1949). Pike pointed out that the accused was young (18) and impressionable and also helped the British Crown to uncover the Rukun Tiga-belas movement, the secret anti-cession group behind the assassination. He lost the case and the accused was sentenced to death by hanging. (Source: 4)

In 1951, Anthony Brooke, fearing that he would be branded as a traitor to Britain, sent a message to anti-cession groups to urge them to give up the fight against British rule. The anti cession movement did not end because of this but gradually died after this. (Source: 3)

Now you know why those old stamps you collected in Sarikei had Queen Elizabeth's images from the British Crown colony days.


Sources:
(1) Wikipedia (Sarawak)
(2) Malaysia--new States in a New Nation: Political Development of Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia. By Kanagaratnam Jeya Ratnam, R. S. (Robert Stephen) Milne
(3) South East Asia, Colonial History. By Paul H. Kratoska
(4) From British military intelligence to financial secretary of Sarawak: John Pike 1945-1967.
(note: John Pike succeeded Alastair Morrison as Assistant District Officer of Sarikei District in early 1949. In late 1949, Pike was posted to the Binatang as Assistant District Officer. In 1951 Pike was appointed District Officer to the Lawas District. Pike became the Sarikei District Officer in 10 July 1954 and that's where he encountered the 1955 trade hartal started in Sarikei. )

7 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...

Does anyone remember this old flag? The 1870 version from Charles Brooke saw continued use after cession, flying side-by-side with the British Union Flag. Even after Sarawak joined Malaysia in 1963, this flag remained in use and unchanged until 1973.

Daniel Yiek said...

Updated 1 paragraph:

John Pike, the Sarikei Assistant District Officer, acted as the defense lawyer for the assassin of the 1st British Crown Governor. Read the details there.

Kanga said...

Daniel,
That flag was what I grew up with (I left Sarawak in 1971). I can't remember all the words of the Sarawak Anthem anymore but I know it started with " Fair land Sarawak......". I can still visualise the Sarawak Police Field Force marchung and playing the Sarawak Anthem in the evening at the padang. I thought the band conductor was some one named "Tom Harisson"?? (He was always in uniform with the band). The good old days......

Anonymous said...

Ah...Sarikei the town of pineapples in Sarawak...anyway heard of the news where the baby's hand got amputated ? What a bad negligent case of the medical personnel in Klang Hospital.

Lidasar said...

This wasn't the flag I seen during my childhood, the original one is almost similar to the union jack except the Sarawak colours and also it has a crown in the center too.

Daniel Yiek said...

The 1st flag of Sarawak looked similar to the one I posted except that the black half of the cross is blue (dark blue/purple)

Pasted from Wikipedia:

James Brooke, who was the first Rajah of Sarawak originally used the St George's Cross as the state's flag. The decision for Sarawak to have its own flag was made in 1845, but it was not hoisted until 21 September 1848.

The first Sarawak flag was originally made up of a half blue and half red cross on yellow, thought to be based on Brooke's coat of arms.

More pictures at Flags of the World

http://www.fotw.net/flags/my-sk870.html

Daniel Yiek said...

Anthony Brooke, the nephew of Vyner Brooke, was the District Officer (DO) of Sarikei in 1941.

http://www.4dw.net/royalark/Malaysia/sarawak4.htm

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