Tun Openg’s important role in Sarawak’s independence

destined to rule

In Sarawak’s path to independence and his pivotal role in the creation of Malaysia, Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Abang Sapye’s achievements as the first Governor of Sarawak stand as a testament to his leadership and vision. .

The late governor came from an aristocratic family and was destined to rule the state.

upon On a sunny day on September 15, 1963, a large crowd from the banks of Pangkalan Batu watched as the last British governor of Sarawak, Sir Alexander Waddell, and his wife Lady Waddell departed Astana at 12:30 p.m. We said a final farewell to all the Sarawakians on “their shining white and yellow-roofed barge” before boarding the British frigate Loch Kirisport. Leading the dignitaries who saw them off were governor-designate Datuk Abang Opung and his wife Tho Puan Dayan Masniya Abdulrahman.

After leaving Astana, Sir Alexander Waddell stands in front of the Kuching Courthouse, which serves as the city’s administrative center.


He stood at the podium in silence, his eyes focused on the many faces staring back at him. The multi-ethnic community gathered in a field in Kuching’s Central Padang (now known as Padang Merdeka) was peaceful and silent.

The then Governor of Sarawak, Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Openg Abang Sapye, looked calm and deep in thought, listening intently to the distinct voice of Federal Government Representative Kil Johari coming from the loudspeaker. Ta. Kill was reading the Malaysian declaration.

Sarawak’s first chief minister, the late Datuk Stephen Karon Ningkang, then took to the stage and faced the crowd, and a sudden wave of excitement and anticipation filled the air. His statement later became one of the proudest moments recorded in Sarawak’s history. “Therefore, I, Sarawak Chief Minister Stephen Karon Ningkan, hereby declare today that Sarawak has achieved independence as a Malaysian state.”

Tung Open declares the Kuching Jaycees Children’s Christmas Party in 1963. Along with him are Toh Puan Dayang Masnia and young Abang Johari.

This proud moment for Sarawak came on September 16, 1963, the same day that the late Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Openg was sworn in as Governor of Sarawak for a two-year term. One can only wonder what was in the mind of this historical figure when this declaration was made. Was he remembering or thinking about what the future holds for Sarawak? But he will forever be remembered for his role as the negotiator that led to the creation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963, when Sarawak joined the states of Malaya along with Sabah and Singapore to create a new federation. .

Establishment of Malaysia and Sarawak

As communism spread through armed struggle in the region, the British government had decided to withdraw from East Suez. This meant that then-British colonies east of the Suez Canal, such as Sarawak, had to adapt to a rapid self-government process and deal with threats to their security and economic interests.

The then Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaji, first hinted at the idea of ​​forming a new federation encompassing Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei in May 1961. However, there were serious concerns about Malaya’s political stability and security. Southeast Asia.

kobold committee

The British government in Kuching and local leaders who were preparing to assume the role of seeking independence from Britain were particularly concerned about the Brunei rebellion that had descended on areas of northern Sarawak in December 1962. Ta.

The presence of the largest Communist Party outside of China, located just beyond the Indonesian border, was also causing great anxiety. The aims of a new federation of Malaysia proposed by Tunku Abdul Rahman were accepted without much hesitation by the British government.

With the consent of the Government of Malaya, a Kobold Commission was established to determine the wishes of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to join the proposed federation.

The Kobold Commission’s conclusion is that 80 per cent of Sarawakians support Sarawak’s accession to the new federation because of the necessary safeguards for Sarawak and its multi-racial and multi-religious population. Ta. The remaining 20 percent represented “hardcore” groups that opposed the creation of Malaysia “under any conditions.”

Following the Kobold Commission’s report, the British and Malayan governments issued a joint statement on August 1, 1962, providing for safeguards covering “questions of religious freedom, education, representation, etc.” He announced his intention to terminate the formal agreement for the founding of the country. The special interests of North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak were discussed on the status of indigenous peoples in the federal parliament, immigration control, citizenship and state constitutions.

The statement also stated that an intergovernmental committee consisting of representatives from Sabah and Sarawak was appointed to resolve these “special safeguards” which formed the basis of the Malaysian Agreement signed on 8 July 1963. (IGC) announced that it will be established. This includes complete control over the state’s natural resources such as land, forests, land and land-based minerals, local government, immigration, the use of English in judicial proceedings, the state’s ports, and other sources of state revenue. . Borneo state.

These were eventually incorporated or embedded into the Federal Constitution and into important legislation such as the Immigration Act 1963, which was passed and came into force on Malaysia Day.

They formed the basis for Sabah and Sarawak to join Malaya and Singapore in the creation of Malaysia in September 1963. The country’s forefathers have worked hard to “ensure that Malaysia succeeds and develops as a unified and harmonious federation.”

Special constitutional safeguards not only enable Borneo states to maintain an acceptable degree of fiscal and governance autonomy within the federal system, but also ensure that both states have equal political and economic autonomy. The aim was to provide conditions that would ensure development. It has already been established in other states of the Union. These safeguards were therefore aimed at promoting national integration. At the time, the Founding Fathers did not consider the possibility that member states would secede from the Union.

the man

It is hard to imagine that the late Mr Tun Openg was a natural leader and a natural candidate for Sarawak governorship. Tun Openg was born on October 7, 1905 in Kuching. He is the son of Abang Sapiyi Abang Omar, whose grandfather was the governor of Sarawak before the time of James Brooke. He is a nobleman and comes from a blue-blooded family.

Through his great-grandfather, Datuk Patinggi Gapur, he is the grandson of Raja Minangkabau, who was also the ancestor of Brunei’s Sultans Mohamad Tajuddin, Hashim Mohamad Jumalul Alam and Omar Ali Saifuddin III. He is a descendant of a certain Menteri Husin. He is the great-grandson of Datu Patinggi Ali of Sarawak and a direct descendant of Raja Djarum.

His career in government spanned over four decades until his important appointment as Governor of Sarawak on September 16, 1963. Tun Openg married Toh Puan Masnia in 1930 and they had four sons and his six daughters. His son, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, will succeed the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who passed away on January 11, 2017. He has been serving as the 6th Chief Minister of Sarawak since January 13, 2017. He is also the Sarawak State Assembly Member for Gedong Constituency. Another son, Datuk Abang Karim, is the president of Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

In 2010, one of his daughters, Datuk Dayang Madina Tun Abang Haji Openg, was appointed to the Senate until the end of her second term in 2016.

This eminent personality and founder of Sarawak’s Golden Memories, Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Openg Abang Sapye, passed away on March 28, 1969 at the age of 64. The late Tan Sri Tuanku Bujang succeeded him as Sarawak governor.

Tun Openg is fondly remembered as a man of the people.


Tun Datuk Patinggi Aban Open Aban Sapie

He served as the first Governor of Sarawak from September 16, 1963 to March 28, 1969.

to be born:
1905 in Kuching, Sarawak

March 28, 1969

Tho Puan Dayan Masnia Abdulrahman

The kids:
⦁ Aban Abdillah
⦁ Dayan Mastija
⦁ Dayan Melia
⦁ Dayan Majena
⦁ Dayan Majha Aban Abdul Rahim
⦁ Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Open
⦁ Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Open
⦁ Datuk Senator Dayan Madina
⦁ Dayan Murdia

⦁ St. Anthony, Sarikei
⦁ St. Thomas, Kuching

1924 — Joined the service of HH The Rajah as a clerk and worked for several years at various outposts.

1932 — Promoted to Native Officer — Performed duties at Sarikei. Later, he was appointed as Kuching district manager.

1940 — Appointed member of the Negri Council (until September 15, 1963).

1942 — Until he was appointed Kuching District Officer by the Japanese military government.

1947 — Served as Limbang District Officer in Divisions 4 and 5

1950-1953 — was promoted to a senior position and then returned to Kuching as a district officer.

1951 — Appointed as a temporary member of the Supreme Council.

1953 — was awarded the title of Datukship and attended the coronation of the Queen of England in London.

1962 — Awarded an OBE by the Queen of England.

1963 — Signed the Malaysian Agreement in London and became Governor of Sarawak.

1964 — July: Awarded the most illustrious Order of the Star of Sarawak.

November: Awarded Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara with the title of Tun.

1965 — His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong extended his term as Governor-General for another four years.

1969 — Tun Openg passed away and was succeeded by the then Tan Sri Tuanku Bujang Tuanku Osman.

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