During the days of the Brooke Administration, some semblances of the functions of the Council were performed by the Public Works Department. Sir Charles Vyner Brooke was installed as the Third Rajah on 22nd July, 1918. In 1921 the Kuching Sanitary and Municipal Advisory Board was formed. Following a new legislation, the Board became the Municipal Authority for Kuching on 1st January, 1934 marking the early beginning of what would in due course become the local authority for Kuching, known as the Kuching Municipal Council.

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1941, the Central Government was giving consideration to the question of according full municipal status to the Board, but the war interrupted this and the question was not considered again until the resumption of Civil Government in 1946, at which time Sarawak had also become a colony of Great Britain.

In 1947, it was found neccessary to introduce a modified form of Committee System as the work of the Board had grown to such as extent as to make it impracticable for the Municipal Commissioners to deal with the various problems of administration in a single monthly meeting.

In 1949, His Excellency the Governor directed that the Chairman of the Kuching Municipal Board should submit a comprehansive detailed scheme to convert the Municipality into a local government entity, financially self-supporting and managing its own affairs, subject to such safeguards as might be deemed adviseable. As a result of this action the Municipality became autonomous on 1st January, 1953.

The Municipal Council at this time was formed on a purely racial basis of twenty-four representatives of the public, with a British Officer as Chairman. His Excellency the Governor in Council appointed the Chairman, as he also did six other Councillors of various nationalities who represented different interests in the lives of the local community. The other eighteen Councillors with approval of His Excellency were nominated by the various Associations, who looked after the interest of the Chinese, Malay, Indian, Ceylonese, Dayak and British communities.


In 1956 intiatives were made by His Excellency to plan for the first free election, which eventually took place on 4th November. A total of 58 persons offered themselves as candidates for the 9 wards and 278 seats on the new Council. The newly elected Council took office on 1st December, 1956. The President and Vice President were elected from among the Councillors and held office for a period of one year, with eligibility for re-election. Free election lasted only for several years.

The 3-year term of office o[the 1963 elected Councillors should have expired on 30th June, 1966. However, due to certain political development in the State, the tenure of office was extended by the State Government and the Councillors who were elected at the3rd local council elections in 1963 continued to hold office until 14th October. 1981 when the Council was restructcd. The enactmentof the Kuching Municipal (Amendment) (No.2) Ordinances 1977 made 15th December 1977 among other things, substituled led the elective system by an appointment system of Councillors. It was provided that the Council should consist ot the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman; and not less than eight and not more than twenty-four Councillors to he appointed by the Governor to serve a term not extending three years. This amendment Ordinance was only brought into force with effect from 15 October 1981 on which date a new set of Councillors were appointed and all the Councillors elected in 1963 ceased to hold office on 14 October, 1981.

On 1st August, 1988 the Municipality was elevated to city status, making it the 3rd City in Malaysia after the Federal Capital of Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh, the Capital of the State of Perak. This historic date also saw the administrative division of the City into Kuching North (covering a significant part of the central areas of downtown Kuching, previously administered by the Kuching Municipal Council and including new areas across the Sarawak River, previously administered by the Kuching Rural District Council) and Kuching South (covering part of the areas previously administered by thh Kuching Municipal Council to the east of downtown Kuching and come new areas to the south of the former Municipality, previously administered by the Kuching Rural District Council) comprising an area of 61.53 sq.km.

Past Presidents/Chairmen of Kuching Municipal Council/Past & Present Mayor of the MBKS

 1st President
Tan Sri Datuk William Tan
1 Dec 1956 – 30 Nov 1959
2nd President
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Ong Kee Hui
1 Dec 1959 – 27 Dec 1965
 3rd President
Mr. Song Thian Cheok
28 Dec 1965 – 30 June 1978
4th President
Datuk Haji Abdul Kadir Marican
1st July 1978 – 14 October 1981
1st Chairman of Restructured Council
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Yong
15th October 1981 – 20th May 1982
2nd Chairman (Oct 1982 - July 1988)
First Mayor 1988-1996
Datuk Song Swee Guan
Second Mayor
Datuk Chan Seng Kai
1st Feb 1997 – 31st July 2006
Third Mayor
The Late Chong Ted Tsiung
25th September 2006 – 3rd August 2007
Fourth Mayor
Dato James Chan Khay Syn
4th June 2008 - 31st August 2019

Fifth Mayor
Dato Wee Hong Seng
1st September 2019 - Present