Government of Sarawak

The Sarawak Government is an authority governing Sarawak, one of the Borneo states of Malaysia, and is based in Kuching, the state capital. The state government adheres to and is created by both the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the supreme law of Malaysia, and the Constitution of the State of Sarawak, the supreme law of the State.

Sarawak Government
Kerajaan Negeri Sarawak
Established22 July 1963 (1963-07-22)
Appointed byYang di-Pertua Negeri
Main organCabinet of Sarawak
Ministries18 ministries
Responsible toLegislative Assembly
Annual budgetRM 70.54 billion (2021)[1]
HeadquartersWisma Bapa Malaysia
Petra Jaya, Kuching, Sarawak
WebsiteOfficial website

The state government has only two branches: executive and legislative. Sarawak has no judiciary branch due to the federalisation of the court system in Malaysia. Although Sarawak has jurisdictions over Sharia and Native Courts (and their respective laws),[2][3] both courts are still considered parts of the state executive branch.


The state legislature consists of only a unicameral house called the State Legislative Assembly. All 82 members of the Assembly are elected from single-member districts by universal adult suffrage. The Assembly follows a multi-party system, and the governing body is elected through a first-past-the-post system. The state, however, may appoint up to six nominated members of the Assembly based on conditions provided by the state constitution.

By law, the Assembly has a maximum mandate of five years. The Governor may dissolve the state legislature at any time and usually does so upon the advice of the Premier.



Executive power vested in the Cabinet led by the Premier. The State Constitution stipulates that the Premier must be a member of the State Legislative Assembly who, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, commands a majority in the State Legislative Assembly. The Cabinet is chosen among members of the State Legislative Assembly and is responsible to that body. The executive branch of the government consists of the Premier as the head of the government, followed by the various ministers of the Cabinet.

State departments, agencies and companies

Since 15 February 2022, Sarawak Government comprises the following ministries, which subsequently divided to following agencies:

Ministry State agencies
Premier's Department State departments:
  • Governor's Office
  • Office of the Premier of Sarawak
  • State Legislative Assembly (Website)
  • State Secretary's Office
  • State Attorney-General's Chambers
  • State Financial Secretary's Office
  • State Public Service Commission (PSC)
  • Deputy State Secretary's Office (Socioeconomic Transformation)
  • Deputy State Secretary's Office (Rural Transformation)
  • Deputy State Secretary's Office (Performance and Service Delivery Transformation)
  • Betong Resident's Office
    • Betong District Office
    • Kabong District Office
    • Pusa District Office
    • Saratok District Office
  • Bintulu Resident's Office
    • Bintulu District Office
    • Sebauh District Office
    • Tatau District Office
  • General Administration Unit
  • Internal Audit Unit
  • Kapit Resident's Office
    • Belaga District Office
    • Bukit Mabong District Office
    • Kapit District Office
    • Song District Office
  • Kuching Resident's Office
    • Bau District Office
    • Kuching District Office
    • Lundu District Office
  • Limbang Resident's Office
    • Lawas District Office
    • Limbang District Office
  • Miri Resident's Office
    • Beluru District Office
    • Marudi District Office
    • Miri District Office
    • Subis District Office
    • Telang Usan District Office
  • Mukah Resident's Office
    • Dalat District Office
    • Daro District Office
    • Matu District Office
    • Mukah District Office
    • Tanjung Manis District Office
  • Native Courts
  • Samarahan Resident's Office
    • Asajaya District Office
    • Samarahan District Office
    • Simunjan District Office
  • Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS)
  • Sarawak Syariah Judiciary Department
  • Sarawak State Mufti's Department
  • Sarawak State Treasury Department
  • Sarikei Resident's Office
    • Julau District Office
    • Meradong District Office
    • Pakan District Office
    • Sarikei District Office
  • Serian Resident's Office
    • Serian District Office
    • Tebedu District Office
  • Sibu Resident's Office
    • Kanowit District Office
    • Selangau District Office
    • Sibu District Office
  • Sri Aman Resident's Office
    • Lubok Antu District Office
    • Sri Aman District Office
  • State Human Resources Unit
  • State Implementation Monitoring Unit
  • State Planning Unit
  • State Protocol and Public Relations Unit (UPPAN)
  • Sarawak Public Communication Unit (UKAS)
  • State Security and Enforcement Unit
  • State Service Modernisation Unit
  • Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR)

State statutory boards:

State-owned companies:

Ministry of Education, Innovation and Talent Development State departments:
  • Sultan Iskandar Planetarium (PSI)

State statutory bodies:

State-owned companies:

Ministry of Infrastructure and Port Development State departments:

State statutory boards:

Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Investment State-owned companies:
  • Sarawak Gas Distribution Sdn. Bhd.
Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development State departments:

State statutory bodies:

Ministry of Natural Resources and Urban Development State departments:

State statutory bodies:

Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government State departments:

State statutory bodies:

Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts State departments:

State statutory bodies:

Ministry of Transport State statutory bodies:
Ministry of Utilities and Telecommunication State departments:

State statutory boards:

State-owned companies:

Ministry of Women, Early Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development State departments:

State-owned companies:

Ministry of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneurship Development State statutory bodies:

Head of government

The Premier of Sarawak (Malay: Premier Sarawak), formerly the Chief Minister of Sarawak (Malay: Ketua Menteri Sarawak), is the indirectly elected head of government of Sarawak. He is officially appointed by the Governor, who in His Excellency's judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of State Legislative Assembly. He heads the State Cabinet, whose members are appointed by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri on the advice of the Premier. The Premier and his Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to State Legislative Assembly. The Premier's Department is the body and ministry in which the Premier exercises its functions and powers.

Relationship with Malaysian federal government

Relationship of Sarawak state government with federal government of Malaysia are generally cozy except during 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis when the then Sarawak chief minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan went into conflicts on various issues pertaining to the usage of Malay language in Sarawak, expatriate issue in Sarawak civil service, and appointment of Governor of Sarawak. The Parliament of Malaysia then used emergency powers to amend the constitution of Sarawak to facilitate the removal of Ningkan from office. In September 1966, Tawi Sli was installed as the new chief minister who was more acceptable to the federal government. However, his cabinet minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud dominated most of the decision making. In 1970, Abdul Rahman Ya'kub was considered as the first federal "proxy" to be installed as the third chief minister of Sarawak for his undivided loyalty to the federal government. In 1981, Abdul Taib Mahmud was installed as the fourth chief minister. The federal government adopted "hands off" approach as long as Sarawak parties consistently delivers overwhelming number of parliamentary seats to the federal government.[4]

In 2008 Malaysian general election, the federal government lost two-third majority in parliament. This makes the federal more reliant on support from the east Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak to cling on power. Both east Malaysian states started to ask for more representatives in the Malaysian federal cabinet and more budget allocations.[4] Adenan Satem, after took over the chief minister post in 2014, had asked for greater autonomy and empowerment from federal government to recognise Sarawak Independence Day on 22 July 1963, increase in oil royalty from 5% to 20%, and greater autonomy as enshrined in Constitution of Malaysia, and re-examine the documents such as Malaysia Agreement, Inter Governmental Committee and Cobbold Commission reports. This is because the federal government had "shortchanged" Sarawak throughout its 50 years within Malaysia; despite Sarawak is rich in natural resources, its basic infrastructure is still lacking and poorly maintained.[4] Adenan also made English as the second official language of Sarawak (first official language being the Malay language) and recognised Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), in contrast to federal government policy that made the Malay language the sole official language of Malaysia and refused to recognise UEC certificate.[4]

Abang Abdul Rahman Johari Abang Openg continued Adenan policy of demanding more autonomy for Sarawak after he took over the chief minister post in January 2017.[5] He also started to enforce 5% sales tax on petroleum products in 2019 and asked Petronas, national oil and gas corporation wholly owned by the federal government to pay for the sales tax.[6] Petronas refused to pay the sales tax and the case was brought to the high court. In March 2020, high court ruled that Sarawak has power to levy sales tax and Petronas is entitled to pay for it.[7] In February 2022, Abang Johari passed a motion in state assembly to rename the chief minister post to "Premier".[8] Such act received criticism from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, a federal government agency of coordinating the usage of Malay language[9] and conflicts of translation into Mandarin language between Chinese groups in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.[10]

Other countries relationship with Sarawak government


  1. Rosly, Md Azrin. "60 peratus daripada peruntukan RM 70.54 bilion Bajet 2021 Sarawak untuk pembangunan - Abang Johari". Utusan Online (in Malay). Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  2. Both courts are under the jurisdiction of the Chief Minister.
  3. Federal Constitution, Ninth Schedule, List IIA, Item 13.
  4. Mersat, Neilson Ilan (2017). "REALIGNMENT OF STATE–CENTRE RELATIONS: The Adenan Factor in Sarawak". Southeast Asian Affairs 2017. Southeast Asian Affairs. ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. pp. 221–234. doi:10.1355/aa17-1m. JSTOR 26492604. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  5. "Steering Sarawak on the right course". The Borneo Post. 22 April 2017. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  6. Sharon, Ling. "Sarawak to charge 5% sales tax on petroleum products from next year". 5 November 2018. Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  7. Sulok, Tawie (13 March 2020). "High Court rules for Sarawak in sales tax dispute with Petronas". The Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 14 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  8. Wen, Lok Jian (16 February 2022). "Sarawak vote to call its leader 'premier' could be first step to greater autonomy". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  9. Chern, Lo Tern (22 February 2022). "DBP urges Sarawak govt to reconsider 'premier' title, says gives impression of a PM post at state-level". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 22 February 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  10. Pim, Lim How (4 March 2022). "Chinese groups disagree over translation of 'Premier' for Sarawak". The Borneo Post. Archived from the original on 25 March 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
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