Self-Governing Sarawak 1963


Sarawak Representatives at  Kuching Airport on 12 July 1963 after returning from London where they signed the historic agreement to form Malaysia and end colonial rule

On 27 May 1961, Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj proposed a merger for closer political and economic co-operation between the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo (as Sabah was known then) and Brunei.

British Prime Minister Sir Harold Macmillan supported the idea and the first Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee (MSCC) meeting was held in Singapore two months later, followed by an eye-opening visit by leaders from Sarawak and Sabah to Malaya on 12 August 1962. In 1962, a five-man team of 2 Malayans and 3 British representatives headed by Lord Cameron Cobbold conducted a referendum amongst Sarawakians on the proposed Federation of Malaysia.

The findings of the Cobbold Commission led to the Malaysia Agreement signed on 9 July 1963 by Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. As spelt out in the 20-point requirements raised by Sabah and 18-point by Sarawak, the Agreement sought to protect the interest, rights and autonomy of the people of the two states after the formation of Malaysia.

Temenggong Jugah anak Barieng OBE, Datu Bandar Abang Mustapa CBE, Abang Haji Openg, Ling Beng Siew and P.E.H. Pike signed on behalf of Sarawak while Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and Sir Harold Macmillan represented Malaya and Britain respectively.

On 22 July 1963, the Governor of Sarawak, Sir Alexander Waddell, issued a proclamation to form the first Supreme Council with the appointment of Stephen Kalong Ningkan, the Chairman of Sarawak National Party (SNAP), as the first Chief Minister of Sarawak. The other members of the Supreme Council were Abdul Taib Mahmud, James Wong Kim Ming, Dunstan Endawie Anak Enchana, Awang Hipni Pengiran Anu and Teo Kui Seng. This marked the end of colonial rule and birth of Sarawak as a self-governing country.