Wednesday, September 05, 2007

History - Sarikei Part 6. Sarawak Independence 1963.

Sarikei Malaysia Day 2004, Repok Road
View from Block 2 Left (counting from Rejang River)

If you go back to 1961, Borneo was divided into 4 separate entities: Brunei, Kalimantan, British Crown colony of Sarawak and British North Borneo (now Sabah). When UK withdrew from its SE Asia colonies, it wanted its colonies on Borneo to join the Federation of Malaya to establish Malaysia.

Malaya Merdeka. 31 Aug 1957.

President Sukarno of Indonesia opposed the formation of Malaysia which he believed was a British puppet. He believed that Malaysia would help British control SE Asia and threaten the independence of Indonesia. Philippines also opposed it and made a claim for North Borneo for its links with the Philippines through the Sulu archipelago.

The Trisakti, Sarawak flag 1973-1988.
Introduced in 1973, 10th anniversary of Sarawak independence.

Indonesia and the Philippines agreed to accept the formation of Malaysia if a majority in North Borneo and Sarawak voted for it in a referendum organized by the United Nations. Did any of you vote in this referendum? The UN expected the referendum results to be released by 14th September 1963. Meanwhile, there's an anti-Malaysia movement in Sarawak, headed by Ahmad Zaidi.

Current Sarawak flag.
Introduced in 1988, 25th anniversary of Sarawak's independence.

Sarawak and North Borneo, expecting a pro-Malaysia formation result, declared independence on 31st Aug 1963, the 6th anniversary of Merdeka Day, before the referendum results were announced. On 14th Sep 1963, the referendum result was released to allow Malaysia to be formed on 16 Sep, 1963. Indonesia viewed this as a broken promise from British imperialism and the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia increased.

Sarikei Malaysia Day 2005.
Car next to the Merdeka Park hawker centre.
Source: Petre

Sarawak's Merdeka day is really on 16 Sep, not 31 Aug. Merdeka, merdeka, merdeka!

Wikipedia (Sarawak)


BurungHelang said...

Daniel: MERDEKA! echo: merdeka! Daniel: MERDEKA! echo: merdeka! Daniel: MERDEKA! echo: merdeka!

Lidasar said...

I am not a fan of Malaysia, just make a comparison between Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. I would imagine we have oil and timber recourses in the term of US100 billions or more which is all gone and folks have to pay a toll crossing Rajang. We have a raw duel.

Kanga said...

The period leading to Sarawak joining Malaysia was not a rosy one as far as Sarikei was concerned. The opposition was obvious, banners and posters were all over the place during the UN delegation's visit to Sarikei. Many rallies were held by those opposing Sarawak joining Malaysia. They wanted Sarawak to be independent by itself. People's opinions were divided furiously!
There was a view that Sarawak joining Malaysia not on 31 august 1963 but on 16 September that year to avoid an organised mass protest planned for 31 August 1963! I was old enough then to note this saying at that time. After Sarawak joined Malaysia, more trouble brewed in Sarikei. The turbulent period ended in 1973 (remember 'Sri Aman').Growing into democracy is never easy. Some paid for with their lives, others forego their futures. Still I think Sarikei has benefited and progressed. But the future is difficult to predict. My view is:work hard on education, educating the next generation, the internet is one of these democratic tools,....."lest we forget!"

nelson said...

yes education indeed is of the utmost important. remember that SAS logo bears Non Scholae Sed vitae saying education is life! what we need is knowledge & professionalism in whatever things that we are doing. it's the mindset that is hard to change, we need to progress, better ourselves in order to compete with the germans or jews or japanese or chinese not just competing with fellow malaysians! together, we can turn sarikei into a magnificent town with infinite great surprises

Daniel Yiek said...

Great info on the situation in Sarikei leading to S'wak joining M'sia.

What is the 1973 "Sri Aman" incident?

Next post on Sat may be a History post on the next major chapter (if I can finish it).

nelson said...

i think sri aman incident is about the communists led by bong ki chok declaring peace with the government and halting their activities which took place in simanggang and later the name of the town was changed to sri AMAN.

Kanga said...

Thank you and spot on Nelson. perhaps I should have described it better such as "Sri Aman peace accord".
Many aspects of life in Sarikei (and other areas of Sarawak) got back to normal after that.

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