Former Rajah Muda, Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke, 98, passed away in Wanganui, New Zealand on March 2.
As the heir-apparent, he briefly administered Sarawak from 1939 to 1940 in the absence of his uncle Charles Vyner Brooke, the third and last White Rajah to rule Sarawak.
He is survived by his wife Gita, son James Lionel, daughter Celia and grandchildren Jason, Laurence and Sura.
In an email to Sarawak Tourism Federation’s Heritage Development Committee chairman Lim Kian Hock, Jason wrote that his grandfather passed away with his wife by his side at their home Rumah Brooke.
“His cremation took place yesterday (Thursday) at 3pm in Wanganui, in keeping with his wishes, with a memorial service to follow later this year,” said Jason.
Born in England in 1912 to His Highness the Tuan Muda of Sarawak, Anthony received his education at Eton and Magdalene Cambridge, before pursuing studies in Malay and Mohammedan Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Anthony’s uncle Sir Charles Vyner Brooke was the third Rajah of Sarawak. Sir James Brooke became Rajah in 1841 and the Brooke family ruled Sarawak until the Japanese invasion in 1941.
As Sir Charles had no male heir, Anthony’s father, the co-ruling Tuan Muda was the heir-apparent. He, however, renounced his claim in favour of his son, duly appointed Rajah Muda (Crown Prince) and heir-apparent in his place.
Anthony had one son James (born 1940) and two daughters Celia (1942) and Angela (1944).
Anthony was the last member of the Brooke family to govern Sarawak (1939 to 1940).
After WWII ended, and with Sarawak liberated from Japanese rule, Anthony strongly opposed the annexation of Sarawak as a British colony in 1946, and responded to calls coming from the Malay National Union, Sarawak Dayak Association, Sarawak Youth Movement, Sarawak Women’s Association and other newly formed political groups in Sarawak to lead the independence campaign against British rule.
Campaigning vigorously for five years, he withdrew in 1951 only when the spread of Communism seemed a greater threat to stability in Sarawak.
Anthony then embarked upon a programme of world travel, speaking with groups large and small on the rights, responsibility and power of the individual in helping to bring about a democratic world order.
Co-founding with his wife, a charitable trust, Peace Through Unity, Anthony embarked upon a personal crusade that would span 60 years, meeting world leaders and spiritual thinkers from Chinese premier Chou En Lai to India’s Vinoba Bhave who dubbed him ‘shanty doot’ or Ambassador of Peace.
After Sarawak achieved independence through Malaysia, Anthony returned to the state as a guest on two occasions - in 1964 and 1983 - when he rekindled old friendships from the anti-cession days.