Monday, March 14, 2011


Towards the end of his life, the former Rajah Muda, whose obituary in The Times is quoted below, wanted an acknowledgement by the British Government that he had always been a loyal servant of the Crown. He had opposed the cession of the territory to Malaysia by peaceful means, but he felt that his name had been tarnished when he was banned from entering Sarawak under the 'Undesirable Persons Enactment for fear that his presence there "might lead to insurrection". He had a loose connection with the group who plotted the assassination of the Governor, but an investigation by MI5 on behalf of the Colonil Office exonerated him of any wrongdoing (National Archives reference Anthony Brooke KV2/1855)

After independence Mr Brooke was welcomed back to Sarawak by the Malaysian government, so the ban was lifted de facto. Nevertheless it was never officially lifted by the Colonial Office or its successor the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The FCO told me in correspondence that the only documentation on their files relating to the exclusion order was a statement by Mr Brooke himself on December 18, 1946, the day after the order was made. The order itself, and the legislation under which it was made, have vanished without trace. For this reason they concluded that the FCO had no power to issue a statement such as we had requested, and they added that the only authority which might have power to do so was He Majesty the Queen. But now that Mr Brooke has died at the age of 98, the purpose of all the correspondence over more than a year has expired with him.

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