Forum participants in Melbourne mark 178th anniversary of Sarawak’s founding

A group photo of forum speakers and attendees.

MELBOURNE, Sept 24: Participants at a forum here recently marked and celebrated the 178th anniversary of the founding of the sovereign State of Sarawak on September 24, 1841, with a simple cake-cutting ceremony.

According to a press statement, the occasion was in conjunction with the Borneo International Forum hosted by non-governmental organisation Sabah Sarawak Rights – Australia and New Zealand, titled: “Is There Any Future for Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia?”

The speakers at the forum included Melbourne-based lawyer Robert Pei, Keningau MP Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Sabahan activist Emily Elvera Edward, founding president of Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (SAPA) Lina Soo and guest speaker Shane Van Duren.

The papers presented at the forum were: ‘The Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Chagos Island Case’ by Pei, ‘Malaysia at the Crossroads’ by Dr Jeffrey, ‘Statistics Case and Personal Development of Sabahans and Sarawakians in Australia and the Aspiration of the People’ by Emily and ‘Future of Sarawak under Malaysia – Top 10 Fault Lines’ by Soo.

In the same forum, Shane shared with the audience his experience as a member of the peacekeeping force in Timor Leste which achieved independence in 2002.


Soo spoke on various topics, including the constitutional history of Sarawak as an independent state carved out of the Brunei sultanate on September 24, 1841.

Soo said that she has been commemorating the birth date of Sarawak annually since 2013 and will continue to do so wherever she is.

She reminded the people of Sarawak to remember the historical date of September 24, 1841, and never to forget Sarawak’s origin as a nation, a state, and independent sovereignty.

The forum was attended by about 200 Sabahans and Sarawakians coming from all parts of Australia. — DayakDaily