Previous Governors Of Sarawak

Date : 28 February 2014     Source : Borneo Post Online

The Governor of British Crown Colony of Sarawak was created upon the cessation of the kingdom from the Brooke Administration in 1946. The appointment was made by King George VI and later Queen Elizabeth II until the independence of Sarawak on July 22, 1963 and the joining into the Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963. With the formation of Malaysia, the title was changed to “Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak” (His Excellency The Governor of Sarawak). The appointment was made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Governors of the British Crown Colony of Sarawak

First Governor

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Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke (born July 25, 1898, died Dec 16, 1962) was the first Governor from Oct 26, 1946 to July 26, 1949. He was appointed Governor of the then newly created British Crown Colony of Sarawak which was ceded in 1946 by the Kingdom of Sarawak. The locals then resented him as Sarawak was engulfed by the Anti-cession Movement.

Second Governor

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Duncan George Stewart (1904-1949) succeeded Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke to become the second Governor on Nov 14, 1949. He was mortally wounded on Dec 3, 1949 in Sibu, Sarawak when he was stabbed by a radical member of the Anti-cession movement.

Little is known of Stewart. His service record was viewed as exceptional, having held several positions in the British Colonial Administrative Service. This led him to be appointed as governor and commander-in-chief for Sarawak by Lord Listowel, Minister of State for Colonial Affairs to replace Charles Arden-Clarke.

Third Governor

Sir Anthony Foster Abell was appointed for a three-year term on April 4, 1950 and had his term extended to Nov 15, 1959. He was later appointed to become one of the members of the Cobbold Commission which was set up to determine whether the people of North Borneo and Sarawak supported the creation of Malaysia as well as the subsequent drafting of the Constitution of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

Fourth Governor

Sir Alexander Waddell (born Nov 8, 1913, died June 14, 1999) a colonial administrator, became the last Governor of Sarawak when he took office on Feb 23, 1960.

With his ability to speak Malay, he quickly established himself by extensive touring of the interior and the warmth of his hospitality at the Astana.

When Sarawak was incorporated into Malaysia in 1963, he handed the governorship to Abang Haji Openg.

Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak
(Governor of Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia)

First Governor

Tun Abang Haji Openg Abang Shapie (born 1905) was the first Governor of Sarawak following its incorporation with Sabah, Singapore and Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963. He held the office until his demise on March 28, 1969.

Prior to his appointment as Governor, Tun Abang Haji Openg was active in politics.

He was succeeded by Tuanku Bujang Tuanku Othman.

Spouse(s): Toh Puan Dayang Hajjah
Masniah binti Abdulrahman

Children: Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Abang Haji Openg
Datuk Abang Karim Tun Abang Haji Openg

Second Governor

Tun Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Tuanku Haji Bujang bin Tuanku Othman became the second Governor of Sarawak, serving two terms from April 2, 1969 to April 2, 1977.

Born in Sibu, Tuanku Bujang was educated in a Malay school and later joined the Sarawak Civil Service as a Native Officer in 1934. He became an Officer in the Sarawak Administrative Service and later retired from the Sarawak Government Civil Service in December 1960.

Following his retirement Tuanku Bujang became president of Barisan Ra’ayat Jati Sarawak (BARJASA) in 1962, a political party favouring the formation of Malaysia. He became a Senator following the establishment of Malaysia in 1963.

He was appointed the second governor of Sarawak by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong following the death of Tun Abang Haji Openg.

He died on Nov 28, 1986.

Spouse: Toh Puan Hajjah Rajemah (deceased)

Third Governor

Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin bin Abang Barieng (born Aug 27, 1921) was the third and sixth Governor of Sarawak. Salahuddin was the first to serve as Governor twice. He first assumed office of the governor on April 2, 1977 until April 2, 1981.

Salahuddin had worked as a Municipal Inspector until 1947 under the British colonial administration and continued in public service under the National Registration Department and Public Works Department.

He was active in politics and helped form Barisan Pemuda Sarawak (BPS) and Barisan Rakyat Jati Sarawak (BARJASA). Salahuddin also represented the Melanau community in the Cobbold Commission.

In 1963, Salahuddin contested and won a seat in the state elections. He however left in 1968 and returned to public service and going on to become the chairman of the State Public Service Commission.

In 2000, Salahuddin became Acting Governor when the current governor Ahmad Zaidi Adruce fell ill.

Following Zaidi Adruce’s death in December 2000, Salahuddin was reappointed as governor on Feb 22, 2001.

Salahuddin has been decorated with many awards and recognitions including: Grand Master of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of Sarawak, Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak and Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender of the Realm.

He was succeeded by Abdul Rahman Yakub.

Fourth Governor

Tun Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Rahman Yakub (born Jan 3, 1928) became the fourth Governor of Sarawak on April 2, 1981. He had resigned his post as Chief Minister in 1981. Rahman Yakub however retained his influence over the state’s principal levers of patronage. He later resigned in 1985 citing health reasons.
He was succeeded by Ahmad Zaidi Adruce.

Fifth Governor

Tun Datuk Patinggi Ahmad Zaidi Adruce (born March 29, 1924) was the fifth Governor of Sarawak and held the distinction of being the longest-serving Governor in consecutive terms from a single appointment from his inauguration on April 2, 1985 to his death in December 2000.

Adopted and brought up by Sharifah Mai, Ahmad Zaidi had his early schooling in Chung Hua and Abang Ali School in Sibu. He was an exemplary student and continued his education in St Thomas school in 1936 and went to an Anglo-Chinese school in Singapore and graduated in 1939 at the age of 15 with a Cambridge School Certificate. He later studied at Sultan Idris College in Tanjung Malim, Perak and later Veterinary medicine in Bogor, Indonesia.

He returned to Sarawak in 1947 and was then appointed as a teacher at the Batu Lintang Training Centre. In the same year he also set up the first Sea Scout Movement in Borneo.

In 1949, the British awarded Ahmad Zaidi a scholarship to a technical college in Aberdeen before he later enrolled in the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. On May 28, 1953, he represented Sarawakian students to witness the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Before his appointment as Governor, Ahmad Zaidi had a turbulent political career. Ahmad Zaidi’s aversion to colonist ideology and experiences of discrimination brought on turbulent times with plots and threats to arrest or assassinate him.

He was dubbed a traitor by British authorities and supporters including many of the expatriates in the Sarawak government because of his strong influence and involvement in Barisan Pemuda Sarawak and suspected connection with Indonesia during the Indonesia – Malaysia Confrontation.

This resulted in Ahmad Zaidi’s self-exile to Indonesia until 1969 when he was granted amnesty by the Malaysian government, a move strongly supported by Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub who was a Federal minister at that time.

Sixth Governor

Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Muhammad Salahuddin bin Abang Barieng was appointed as governor on Feb 22, 2001 for the second time, following Ahmad Zaidi Adruce’s death in December 2000. He had been Acting Governor in 2000 when Zaidi Adruce fell ill.

Salahuddin held the Office of Governor of Sarawak until Feb 28, 2014. He is succeeded by Pehin Sri Haji Taib Mahmud.

Photo credits: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia Negeri Sarawak