The Independence of the Kingdom of Sarawak
Sarawak had confirmed by declaring its Independence from the British rule by joining one of the countries of Malaysia which is celebrated as the Sarawak Self-Government Day.
Sometimes it is incorrectly acknowledged as the Independence Day even though independence was not provided by the British legislation before the country could join Malaysian federation. This day of Self-Government is celebrated each year on 22nd July.
Historic background of Self-Government Day
Sultan of Brunei had given independence to the Sarawak Kingdom in 1841. But unfortunately the kingdom was taken under the control of British rulers in 1888. This Sarawak kingdom came to be known as the Crown Colony right after the event of World War II, thereby giving way to a great number of protests the citizens of Sarawak who only wished for the independence of their country.
The unrest condition further led to the Duncan Stewart’s assassination. Duncan Stewart was then the second governor of the Crown Colony or the kingdom of the Sarawak. With this event, Anthony Abell replaced Duncan Stewart. Anthony helped to bring North Borneo as well as Sarawak into the Malaysian Federation. The kingdom of Sarawak was provided with self-government as soon as it got tied up with the Malaysian Federation. The date of July 22 was then known as a public holiday for celebrating the announcement of self-government.
Division between Sarawak Day and Merdeka Day
The decision of announcing the public holiday took place in the middle of the ever increasing demands for Sarawak for gaining extended autonomy. There were many of the Sarawakian residents who felt that the Meredeka Day which was then considered as the day of independence for Malaysia, was too much Malaysian centric, thereby not providing enough insight into the conventional culture that prevailed in Sarawak. In Sarawak, Malays only constituted 23 percent of the entire Sarawakian population, among which one out of 2 Malaysian states was located on one of the islands of Borneo. This state is also recognized as a founding member of the Malaysian Federation along with the federation of Malaya as well as North Borneo. In due course, Singapore was also recognized as one of the founding members but in 1965 it was expelled and thus, lost its recognition as a founder.
The expectation from this declaration of the self-government day was getting a day established by recognizing the history as well as the culture that existed in Sarawak, thereby allowing it for preserving the historic and cultural background. The culture of Melanaus, Bidayuhs, Sarwakian Chinese, Orang Ulu and Ibans was all included in the course of preservation of the culture and history.
Traditional systems and ways of Celebrations
Since the holiday has been freshly started among the citizens, there are no particular traditional systems or modes of celebrations. This day was mainly designed to let the Sarawakian residents honor the leaders of the past, promoting some historical awareness all throughout Malaysia. The day has been celebrated by the citizens since 2012. Recently it has been granted as a public holiday in Malaysia. Celebrations include arranging programs and festivals which are greatly designed for promoting the history and the culture that prevailed among the Sarawakian people.