Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Relocation of LKpl Ungkok ak. Jugam's Grave

The Relocation of LCpl Ungkok ak.Jugam's Grave

LCpl Ungkok ak. Jugam was a soldier of the elite Sarawak Rangers operating alongside the Commonwealth Forces at the height of the First Emergency in Malaya from 1948 to 1960. Attempts to find out how he died was unsuccessful.

However, it was believed that he died in a battle with the communist terrorists in the location where he was buried. His body was never found. The place(in the picture) was then thick jungle. Today, as you can see, it is part of a bustling City of Alor Setar (Km 4, Jalan Langgar).

The British Army tried to move the grave but was unable to because they couldn't locate his next-of-kin - a criteria which must be met.

According to some locals, the dual highway was built between 10 to 15 years ago. As the grave was smack in the middle of the highway, somebody had moved the headstone to the side of the road.

In November last year, I found a write up and the picture of the indignified grave you see below. Shocked, I vowed to take it up to the highest authority.

In conjunction with my book launch by the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, on November 6, 2008, I briefed him about the case and at the same time suggesting that Sarawak set up a Heroes Memorial in Kuching and bring back all the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed during the First Emergency and buried in Malaya and Singapore. He agreed to this plan. However, he said, all the next-of-kins must give their written consent.

Sarawak, in particular, the Ibans, must remember the deeds of their forefathers who had been most courageous fighters and the greatest trackers in the world. This is a legacy that the Ibans must preserve for the future generation to see and remember by. Without this memorial, this piece of history will disappear with time.

This is the situation and location of Ungkok's grave when it was found.
On April 28, 2009, the plan to relocate the grave was put in motion. Here some Iban soldiers from 4th Rangers based in Kangar, Perlis are seen clearing the grave.
I was posing with some of the soldiers.
Some of the VIPs present. Right to Left: Me, Col Steven Mundaw representing the Chairman of the Rangers Regiment, Datuk Bandar Alor Setar Dato' Hj Khazali bin Hj Din, Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM (JHEV), Major General Dato' Zulkiflee bin Mazlan and Pengerusi Historical Society of Malaysia Kedah Branch.
I with the "Miring men" specially brought from Sarawak.
The miring ceremony in progress. Puan Irene Kilat, a relative of Ungkok is seen on the right.
A fowl is sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the grave.
After the fowl and the offerings have been buried, the headstone will be removed.
The headstone is removed and brought onto a Land Rover and brought to the new resting place.
This is the new resting place - the burial ground of the Cathiloc Church of St Micheal at Jalan Sultanah.
Placing the headstone on the new plot
Kol Steven Mundaw laying the wreath
Major General Dato' Zulkiflee Mazlan laying the wreath.
Final group photograph at the new grave of LCpl Ungkok.
My heart-felt appreciation to all those who have been lending a hand in making the event a success:
1. Ketua Pengarah JHEV, Maj Gen Dato' Zulkiflee Mazlan.
2. Datuk Bandar Alor Setar Dato' Haji Khazali Hj Din.
3. Rejimen Renjer DiRaja.
4. Bn Ke-4, Rejimen Renjer DiRaja, Kangar, Perlis.
5. Museum TD.
6. Cawangan Trafik Daerah Kota Setar.
7. Jabatan Kerja Raya Daerah Kota Setar.
8. Mutiara HK Enterprise.
9. Gereja Katholik St Micheal, Alor Setar.
10. To all that I may have missed here.
This was location of the grave after the headstone had been removed.


  1. Dear Rizal,

    Congratulations to you for your effort in honouring LCpl Ungkok, and placing him in the right place. A roadside grave is certainly not for warriors. And not many would want to do what you did. Well done Rizal.

  2. Dear Rizal,

    Congratulations for the work you did to honour LCpl Ungkok. Certainly, a roadside grave is not for warriors. Have you not initiated the work, the grave would still remain besides the road. Once again, well done Rizal

  3. Congrat Colonel for the job well done! Again, I have to apologise for not being able to be there. I guess I just missed some historic moment there...Rano p/s Still no news from British High Comm's office and as I can see in your pictures, no reps from the British Army or even the British High Com (they had promised to come before)....

  4. Dear Dato' Arshad,

    Thank you. I felt a sense of relief and fulfilment - doing something for fellow warriors.

  5. Dear Akat,

    I could feel their predicament that led them for not sending a representative - they do not want to be embarrassed by the indignified location of the grave, although it was not through their fault.

    I still want to know the story of his battle. Do you know how to get hold of the battles fought by the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers?

  6. Hi Col, apart from waiting feedback from British HC or WOII Chris, I am trying to locate which infantry regiments were based in Kedah during 1955 (the year L/Cpl Ungkok perished)through internet search...we'll see and keep the fingers crossed....

  7. Hi Akat,

    Yes, hopefully we get some feedback.

  8. I feel good after reading this. Thank you.

  9. Sir,

    Finally. I'm so glad that the mission has finally accomplished. :D R.I.P.

  10. Yes, at last his grave has been moved to a better location.

    The next move will be to move all of them back home to Kuching - all 21 of them.

  11. This is indeed a triumph for not only you but all the individuals who protected our country. You are a hero amongst heroes.

    Your honour is the initiation of this great act of humanity. Malaysia needs not be embarrassed any more.

  12. I'm glad Ungkok's soul can now rest in peace. He must have "suffered" for a long time.

  13. Tuan,
    meri tabi serta besai terima kasih ngagai nuan
    ke udah kiruh ngambi tanggungpengawa ti patut dipuji baka tu .

  14. Terima kasih Ibankiih,

    Enda ulih aku meda bansa kitai nyau baka ti "dipejera"orang, lebih lebih agi ba manua orang.

    I had to do something to rectify the problem.

  15. Tuan,
    Congrats on job well done.
    I was in Alor Star in April but did not have to time to search for the place. when i saw the pictures, it seemed i missed it by a few hundred meters.
    Anywell the place now is much better and dignified for a warrior.

  16. Thanks Wayne. The place was not very far from the toll. So, that part is now done. The next one is to bring home ALL the 21 warriors buried in the Peninsula and Singapore. See the details in my latest post.

  17. Assalammualaikum wbt Col...

    Its been a while since the last time i'd visited you blogsite...

    it's great to read that finally the late L/Cpl Ungkok grave had been relocate to a proper place...

    Congratulation Sir..

    Marc Zman

  18. Thank you Marc. Yes, we finally rellocate the grave to a more dignified location in Alor Setar on April 28, 2009.

  19. Were his remains exhumed as well as or just the headstone was relocated?

  20. Crispin,

    His remain was never found. We scanned 100m around the headstone and even over the highway. So we did what was best, in accordance to the Iban customs and tradition. We moved the headstone and called the spirit of Ungkok to rest in the new resting place in the Christian Cemetry with the miring ceremony.