Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Brig Gen Stephen Mundaw - the first Iban General.

Mark this date: 1st November 2010. This was the day an Iban Officer was promoted to a General. He was the first Iban to become a General in the Malaysian Army since Sarawak became independent in Malaysia on 16 September 1963. If you want to look further; he was the first Iban General in the long history of the Malaysian Rangers when its predecessor the Sarawak Rangers was formed by Rajah Charles Brooke in 1962. With this promotion, inadvertently, "an Iban allocation" might have been created. When Stephen leave, another will have to take his place. Are there any Iban officers around who are capable of taking over his place? I don't see one around. There are currently two serving officers but they are muslim converts and that will not fit in the "Iban Allocation". This point out the glaring fact that there are very few Ibans Officers in the Malaysian Army today. The Ibans community must do something to ensure this "Iban Allocation" is always taken up by a full-fledge Iban General. The grooming circle must start to ensure there is always a candidate at hand. Congratulation and well done Brig Gen Stephen Mundaw. You have done the Ibans proud. Do what you must to ensure you have a candidate to take over your hot seat when you leave in a not- too-distant future. Meanwhile we wish you the best in your undertakings.
The Chief of the Army and Stephen's better half pinning the rank insignias on Stephen Mundaw.
A Datukship for Gen Stephen
It was expected. However, the speed it came was unexpected. 
General Datuk Stephen Mundaw was awarded a Datukship by Sarawak in conjunction with the 
Governor's birthday on 24 September 2011. It was considered a feat, considering that getting awards from Sarawak is never easy.

Congratulation Datuk. We are proud of you.


  1. Tuan,

    I'm sure yourself and Stephen (and Linus Lunsong) are more than qualified to wear stars on your shoulders, but are/were denied of this simply because of Kuala Lumpur/Malay hegemony.

    But to me, it is a little too late now. The die has been cast. Whatever appointment now is only to appease the Iban population. Again, I agree wholeheartedly that yourself, Stephen and Linus are more than qualified to wear stars, tapi it is a little too late now...

    Kuala Lumpur should have done this years ago.

  2. Tuan,

    Personally I do not understand why the askar malayu are dominating all the top positions in the army...yes, they are the biggest and the oldest unit but not necessarily the best..takkan pegawai dr kor selain askar melayu tak layak utk jd div or brigade commander???

  3. I believe Ibans are the second largest group in the malaysia army after Malays. Yet we see more Indian or Chinese officers and generals than Ibans.

    Ibans, despite having a tradition of warriors in their blood, are true gentlemen officers and NCOs.

    RMR officers? Some of the post-2000 variants are just a bunch of psychotic fools who couldn't string proper English sentences together.

    No wonder quite a number of Ranger officers rarely salute their superiors from the RMR corps.

  4. tabi tuan,
    ari ni asal brig gen steven mundaw tok?

  5. Anonymous,

    Biasa lah. When you are in power, you want your kind to be around you.


    Brig Jen Steven Mundaw is from Sg Melaban, Pakit, Sri Aman.

  6. Correction Anonymous-the Sarawak Rangers are the oldest unit in the ATM. When things get tough call the Rangers.

  7. Terry,

    According to history, yes. The political leaders cannot accept this. For them it is unthinkable for their no. 1 Malay Regiment to fall second to the Rangers.

    Though Sarawak Rangers was formed by Charles Brooke in 1962, it was disbanded just before WW2 and reformed again 1953. In 1963, it was disbanded again and on 16 September 1963, it was reformed into the Malaysian Rangers of today.

    When do the history of the Rangers started? 1862 or 1963?

  8. Terry,

    Sorry wrong date: Sarawak Rangers was formed by Charles Brooke in 1862 not 1962.

  9. Tahniah Kepada Brig Gen Stephen Mundaw atas perlantikan dan pemakaian pangkat ini. Saya pernah mengenali Panglima..

  10. Brig jen Stephen Mundaw,
    Tahniah ngagai nuan Panglima laban ti udah nyadi Panglima ka terubah ari bansa iban.Aku ngelala nuan laban kitai udah begulai ba 9RRD suba. pia mega aku enggau orang berkawad maya perbarisan pemakaian pangkat 01 nov. Berasai temegah meh ati bekas CO udah nyadi Panglima

  11. Nice to read. The spirit is high. Of course every group has the right to share and be proud of such achievements. Your blog speaks of your aspiration well. God bless.

  12. Dear Squad,

    Congratulation to Gen Stephen although I didn't have the opportunity to know/meet him.

  13. Congratulations to ALL Ibans ! Yes, finally there is one amongst you, a race of splendid warriors wears the star of a General. A great day, 1st November 2010 to be always remembered by all whose lives changed for the better through the sacrifices and exploits of the many brave Ibans who served in the various Battalions of THE MALAYSIAN RANGERS. To you, Colonel Rizal, how have you been keeping since I last meeting at the Officers' Mess, Taiping ?

  14. Not surprise to see the appointment but surprise to see the date and the number.

    Sir, you are more than eligible to hold the post of a general but the date is too late and the number is the only one since 47 years ago. As an Iban, I'm proud of you.Congratulation!

  15. Sir.

    I attended the PO course in PLAW/Puswatan in January 2008. The PTI still made us do the side roll during PTs. The JLK (Kapten Azman Hafiz Salahuddin, now Mejar, RAMD, now serving in Lebanon) still made us do star jumps and squad jumps at 1 am/3 am in the morning. Kapten Azman is a fellow that will easily fail the BMI, height 5'4" or 5'3". How in hell did he get promoted to Mejar? He was a Malay with STPM. The other JLs made us drink water socked with stockings (air stokin), made us drink oats mixed with saliva and kahak. Sarjan Ahmad, Sarjan Mazzlan, Encik Saiful, I will remember your kind deeds forever. Sarjan Mazzlan stroked my helmet twice with a thick wooden pole. The helmet was dented (WW2 helmet, not the NATO/kevlar variant). Sarjan Mazzlan made us drank air stokin. En. Saiful made us drank kahak and saliva. There were more tortures and raggings, all in the name of "persediaan untuk perang". If that is the case, child soldiers of Sierra Leone are better trained than Malaysian Army. I applied for and got Attend B, but I still went through all the trainings. One female student cracked her arm and got Attend B throughout the course. One male student cracked his feet and got Attend B, too, but was prevented from being cast because that would made him RTU, and Kapten Azman didn't want any of his students to be RTU. We were engineers, lawyers, degree holders, people of standings in the society. We do not need to be broken down like darjah 6 recruits. We understand it the first time you tell us (well, most of us anyway. Some were really darjah 6-standard recruits, despite being chosen to go to this PO course).

    After going through that hell, I was failed, given an F grade, the only one failed out of 63 students. The reason given, "gagal menyampaikan perintah". "Failure to command". I was made platoon commander during the conventional warfare module, and my platoon did not complete the diggings of foxholes in time. This was considered a big sin. Never mind the JLK made a stupid tactical mistake in choosing the location (hard ground hill). Mejar Cheong Lai Hock, (Ranger, now LTC), obligingly failed me. Mejar, you too, I will remember.

    The Puswatan Komandan at that time, Leftenan Kolonel Zolkapli Rahmat, now Brig-Jen, was too busy playing golf in the camp grounds and couldn't stay a few minutes of 10 am sun for group photo. You too, kernel, I will remember forever.

    I was a private when I attended the PO course, and still a private when my ROD expired in January this year (2010), after 8 years of service in TA. The fond memories I have serving with my rank-and-file sometimes could not mask the pain and sufferings I went through in that month-long PO course.

    1. I rented a van (Nissan Serena) for my use during that PO course. I am a Muslim, a conservative Muslim at that, but I gave my van to Christian students on that PO course so that they can go to church on Sundays. Kernel Zolkapli or Kapten Azman did not provide that. Perhaps Mejar Cheong Lai Huat was a Buddhist.
    2. There were three Hindu students, who were regularly served beef, this despite them asking for vegetarian meals a few days ahead of time. They must feel very 1Malaysia, ya?

    6 months after the course, stung by the fact that I wasted 1 month in hell, and could not get a commission, I sent letters to Najib, PAT, PTD, AP of BPS, of my predicament. I only received two letters "Siasatan sedang dibuat".

    Kapten Azman got promoted to mejar. The seargents get their warrants. The WO2 (En Saiful) happily retired.

    What do I get?

  16. Hi Cyril, nice to hear from you. How are you?

    Darth Trust. Sorry to hear about the situation you were in. I must say asking soldiers to eat food mixed with saliva and "kahak" and drinking water soaked with stockings are inhumane. There are better ways to train and pepare soldiers for war. Personally, I prefer to get my soldiers under extreme physical trainings to get them to withstand the harsh and extreme conditions of war.

  17. Kol, I am very happy abt the BG Mundaw's appointment. Last few months I attended lunch together with several army colonels' who r sitting on the same table. However, felt a bit a pissed off when one of this guy said Mundaw's does not deserve the star because he took the quota of one Royal Malay colonel...

  18. Akat. What quota for RMR Colonel? The RMR has too much quota. The Ibans don't have any quota. By getting this only one, also they are making noise! When it comes to front-line jobs, they will ask the Rangers to go first infront! Where is fairness?

  19. Its irrelevant if you Malay, Chinese, Iban or whatever but whether you deserve and got the post on merit. That is important. Sadly it cant happen in Malaysia because of "whom you know" not what you know. It will never change unless the people do it at the polls. As for me I have retired and left the country

  20. Robert,

    Well, whether we like it or not, that is the reality in Malaysia. They have "quotas" for Chinese, Indians, other races in the senior ranks such as Kolonel and Brig Gen. For the Royal Malay Regiment, the quotas for them are grossly enlarged.


    "I'm sure yourself and Stephen (and Linus Lunsong) are more than qualified to wear stars on your shoulders, but are/were denied of this simply because of Kuala Lumpur/Malay hegemony."

    I think this brother has hit the bulls' eye dead on!

    After fighting all these years I always wondered what were we fighting for?

    What country and for what glory?

    We fought and died to preserve British colonial rule in Malaya from 1948 and then UMNO Malay Hegemony (for 54 years) now becoming an "apartheid" system. Our war braves were forgotten for a long time until we made a fuss and they put on a grand ceremony to appease us not the dead warriors! And now we got one Dayak general after 54 years! We are again appeased! We get bought off with small crumbs while you know who grabbed our most valued treasures. That is our fate in Malaysia!

    We fought to help them colonise Sabah and Sarawak in "Malaysia" for 48 years since 16 Sept.1963 and then we continued to fight the communist till 1990.

    Yes we were great fighters and helped stopped a communist victory.

    What did the Dayaks achieve? Nothing. Just sidelined.

    We defended the UMNO hegemony LOYALLY for 54 years and during that time the UMNO PBB BN regimes plundered our beloved Sarawak's resources and native land while we died in the jungles fighting for them.

    Brothers it is time to think about where we are going as a country. What country? On 31 August they will remind you with grand ceremony it is "Malaysia".

    But we fought the communists who said from 1960s that we would be re-colonized under Malaysia. Colonisation means loss of liberty to be our own masters and become enslaved (now in oil palm plantations) and have all our rich timber land stolen and stripped bare! Where is our independence justice and equality they promised?

    So where are we going? Many traditional long house communities have been destroyed by land seizures by you know who and big dams flooded our ancestral land and graves. We have so many drowned ghosts of the past crying out to us the live ones to do something! But please don't beg them (UMNO/PBB BN) for morsels!

    Many of our young generation have gone on long berjalais as Sarawak under UMNO hegemony cannot serve them. They are sidelined in terms of jobs and opportunities while MALAYANS fill up the public services etc. Soon UMNO will quietly transmigrate 80,000 "religious teachers" to Sarawak and then millions more as in Malaya to overwhelm all Sarawakians. Is this good for us?

    Why? Our young people are angry and want answers about all these things happening over the 48 years of "independence in Malaysia". Many are crying out to fight for our real independence. Just go and read the other blog pages! Don't bask in past glories!

    Try to get out off our blinkered soldier/warrior/macho square!

    Think about Sarawak our motherland- raped and plundered!

    It is noted by other bloggers that we were an independent and sovereign Sarawak State and country for 100 years to 1941 and after that Sarawak became a colony of the Japanese, British and now Malaya UMNO!

    From a humble old foot soldier who cam home and found he lost everything he treasured- land and self-determination.

  22. Robert Rizal Abdullah26 August 2011 at 20:34


    That is a fair comment. You have said the reality of it all. As an individual I cannot do anything to change the system. It is too complicated for one or even groups of people to put right. It needs the whole country to do it.

    The problem lies with the rural folks who are poorly educated or even not educated. Thay are easily swayed by the sweet talks of politicians. They are easily won over by the sight of money and promises of more. They are kept in the dark over issues that they should know. They are internet- illiterate. To them the government is good because it gives them many things - materials to build houses, pipe water, electric generators, fertilizers etc. They becaome so independent. They are given the "fish" and not the "fishing rod". That is why their livelihood has always been the same since 5o years ago. They live from hands to mouths daily.

    A country needs honest to goodness leaders who would really put the country and its citizens foremost and themselves last.

    A good leader is the person who teaches his people how to fish instead of giving them the fish to eat.

  23. Stephen certainly deserves the rank and the honorafic title. No two ways about it.

  24. Robert Rizal Abdullah5 December 2011 at 18:21

    Dear Anonymous,

    Yes, he certainly deserves it. He is a brilliant Iban too - topping his career courses with distinction.

  25. I forgot I posted a comment here ;D. If we want to document the Sarawak Rangers then we must begin right from day one-1862. Terry.

  26. RM .. It is on the new year 2012 day that i came across the postings on BG Datuk Stephen Mundaw. I do not remember meeting him while i was in the service. I am glad an Iban has been made a star rank and quickly recognised by the STATE with a PGDK carrying the title DATUK. Strangely though all the Sarawakians (ONLY THREE) that fortunately achieved the star rank happened to come from Bahagian Ke 2 (now berpecah kepada Bahagian Sri Aman and Betong). Gen Datuk AWI from KABONG and I am from SESSANG, both of Kalaka District. Salam dar Marzuki b Andong

  27. Dear All,
    After reading through all the 24 comments...I realised that discrimination within the ranks of the Armed Forces isn't what it was/is protrayed by the BN government. All along iv told myself that racial discrimination within the AF ia at its lowest.
    The promotion of BG Datuk Stephen Mundaw is *fantastic* news to the Iban community in particular. Unfortunately....Kol Robert Rizal said that there wouldn't be any Iban Officers to replace BG Stephen (once he retired). Eventhough there are two eligible candidates.....but they are muslim-converts. Now.....what are we talking here? Race plus religion? These things shouldn't be the midst of our war-cry of 1 MALAYSIA?
    Anyway....that promotion was long overdue. OR is this due to the run-up of the 13th General Election? Come on sure you can read between the to what is going on. Do info your members of the tricky situation being played.