Biography of Rosli Dhobi

Rosli Dhobi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rosli Dhobi

Rosli Dhobi (1932–1950)
Kampung SiongSibuKingdom of Sarawak
DiedMarch 2, 1950

Rosli Dhobi (1932-March 2, 1950) was a Malay Sarawakian nationalist from SibuSarawakMalaysia during theBritish crown colony era in that state.

He was a member leader of the Rukun 13 organization along with Morshidi Sidek, Awang Ramli Amit Mohd Deli andBujang Suntong. It was a secret cell organization which carried out assassinations of British colonial officers inSarawak. He was well known for his assassination of Sir Duncan George Stewart, the second governor of colonial Sarawak in 1948.



[edit]Early life

Rosli Dhobi was born in 1932 in Kampung SiongSibuKingdom of Sarawak. Little is known about his earlier life although friends regard Rosli as an approachable person despite his quietness. He had an eldest sister and a younger brother, Fatimah and Ainie[citation needed].

Rosli started his career as a teacher and quit his job in 1947 in order to teach in Sibu People's School. Rosli was known to be a nationalist and a poet. Using the nickname Lidros, Rosli penned down a nationalistic poem titled 'Panggilan Mu yang Suchi' which was published inUtusan Sarawak on February 28, 1948. The usage of nickname was prevalent at the time since the British Colonial Authority vigorously monitored any attempts to spread words against them.

Rosli joined Rukun 13 in August, 1948. He was introduced to the organization by an old friend, Bujang Suntong.

[edit]Assassination of Sir Duncan George Stewart

Rosli Dhobi caught by policemen for murdering Duncan Stawart


The end of the Second World War had brought an end to the Brooke Dynasty rule in Sarawak. Believing it to be in the best interest of the people of Sarawak, Rajah Vyner Brooke ceded the state to the British Crown.[1] Sarawak became a Crown Colony, ruled from the Colonial Office in London, which in turn dispatched a Governor for Sarawak.

This move was opposed by Rajah Muda Anthony Brooke, who was supposed to become the next Rajah Brooke, as well as many native Sarawakians who were initially told that they would be allowed self-government. Anthony Brooke became the leader of the anti-cession movement.


On December 3, 1949, Sir Duncan George Stewart, the second governor of Sarawak, was murdered by the Rukun 13 members, Rosli Dhoby, Awang Ramli Amit Mohd Deli, Morshidi Sidek and Bujang Suntong in Sibu.

Rosli Dhobi and Morshidi Sidek were among the crowd that welcomed the governor on his arrival to Sibu. While the governor was meeting the local subjects and in near proximity with Rosli, Morshidi began to pretend to take pictures of the governor with a broken camera. The governor stopped to allow Morshidi to photograph him. At that moment, Rosli stabbed the governor.

Rosli was arrested on the spot and sent to Kuching for trial and later into imprisonment. The governor bled so badly that he had to be flown back to Kuching for treatment and later to Singapore, where he died a week after the incident.


After a few months languishing in prison, Rosli Dhobi, Awang Ramli Amit Mohd Deli, Morshidi Sidek and Bujang Suntong were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death on December 4, 1949. This move was criticized by many, as Rosli Dhobi was a juvenile at the time of assassination. The death sentence was nonetheless a political statement.

Rosli Dhoby was sent to the gallows on the morning of March 2, 1950. Fearing the resentment of the local population, the British government did not allow Rosli Dhobi's body to leave the Kuching Central Prison. Instead, his body was interred in an unmarked tomb within the prison compound.

After Sarawak gained independence on 22 July 1963 from Britain and later through the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, a tombstone was put in place at his tomb. The tombstone is now on display at the outer compound of Sarawak Islamic Museum in Kuching after the reinternment of his remains in 1996.


Sarawak was sent into tumultuous years, and the anti-Cessionists rebellion were crushed as the support by the locals dwindled due to the "aggressive" tactic used by Rosli Dhobi, alongside the oppositions from some of the Malay leaders who were pro-British. Most of the anti-Cessionists were arrested and later send into prison, and some of them were even imprisoned in Changi Prison in Singapore.

However, things later returned to normal and peace was restored during the era of 3rd Governor of Sarawak, Sir Anthony Foster Abell. Even those who were imprisoned at Changi are allowed to return to Sarawak, to continue their sentence at Kuching Central Prison.


After 46 years resting in prison compound, the remains of Rosli Dhobi were moved out of the Kuching Central Prison to be buried in the Sarawak's Heroes Mausoleum near Sibu Town Mosque at his home town of Sibu on March 2, 1996. To honour his struggle against the British, he was given state funeral by Sarawak Government.

[edit]See also


  1. ^ Reece 1993, p. 72.
  • Adopted from Sabah dan Sarawak Menjadi Tanah Jajahan British, Sejarah Tingkatan 3 text book
  • Adopted from Pembinaan Negara Dan Bangsa Malaysia, Sejarah Tingkatan 5 text book ISBN 978-983-62-7883-8

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola