Friday, 23 December 2011

The Iban Warriors' Memorial - Landscaping and Maintenance Needed.

Malaysians are notoriously known for their geniuses in building / constructing beautiful and amazing facilities and structures and next, abandoning them. We can see examples of these everywhere in the country. Public facilities such as children playground are left to rust and rot. Public facilities in public parks and gardens are in similar state.

I knew the new Iban Warriors' Grave that was built in July 2011 will meet the same fate. So on 23 December 2011, I went to have a look with two of my committee members. Sure enough! It was in a deplorable state. No one care about it. The place was strewn with dead leaves and the grass was never cut! If left unattended, the long grass will cover up the head stones.

I will have to find out who is responsible to maintain the Memorial and write to remind them.

How it looked like 5 months later (23 December 2011)

How it looked like on the first day of the reburial on 27 July 2011.

On 26 December 2011, I wrote the letter below to Mayor of Kuching City South with a copy to Commander 1st Infantry Division in Kuching, who is also Chairman of the Rangers Corp.

Update No. 1
About two weeks after my visit, a friend went to see the place and was disappointed too at the appalling condition. Something had to be done. I told an acquaintance who is a Deputy Tourism Minister in Sarawak about what I had observed and written to Mayor of Kuching City North, who, according to the signboard at the entrance to the memorial is responsible for the up-keeping of the place.

16 February 2012
I received an email from Mr. Lim Kian Hock, Chairman of STF Heritage Development Committee in Kuching, saying that actions are being taken to rectify the shortcomings in the memorial. It is clear that the Heritage Development Committee has taken over the responsibility from Kuching City North.

Mr. Lim said he has informed the State Secretary on the matter.

There was a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism on 16 Feb 12.

A more detail meeting with the Technical Committee is scheduled on 24 February 2012. I will be sending a representative for SRVA to attend. It will be here that the exact details will be decided on.

Thank you YB Datuk Talib Zulpilip for taking up my case. I knew I could count on him to deliver. 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Proposing the Revival of Sarawak Rangers to the State Government of Sarawak.

I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Come 22nd December 2011, I will be presenting my proposal paper to one of the Iban Ministers in Sarawak's Cabinet, YB Tan Sri William Mawan ak Ikom. The Chief Minister had given him the responsibility to hear out my proposal to revive Sarawak Rangers, the pride of Sarawak in general and to the Ibans in particular.

I see the impact it will have on Sarawak. It will not only create hundreds of job opportunities but it will also create business opportunities. Most importantly, I see it as a unifying factor to bind all Sarawakians closely together.

Personally I see this as a most satisfying endeavour. I would never have thought that a small and inconspicuous man like me could make himself heard by the political leaders. It is my dream to see the revival of the Sarawak Rangers. I hope the political leaders see the positive aspects and not be clouded by any negative views. We are not trying to set up a war machinery but a unit to compliment the security, tourism and welfare aspect in the country.

Update No. 1
On 22December 2011, my team and I presented our proposal paper on the revival of Sarawak Rangers to Sarawak's Social Development and Urbanisation Minister, YB Tan Sri William Mawan, who was enthrusted by the CM to hear our proposals.

He gave us the nod and went further as to pledge us some financial aid once we have registered our Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association (SRVA) with the new Veterans Council that is awaiting endorsement by Parliament and the King.

The next stage will be presenting the proposal to the highest leadership in the State, the Chief Minister himself. That should be in January/February 2012.

We are still keeping our fingers crossed.

L to R: Lt Col Monday Juhid Director Army Veterans Sarawak Branch, Capt (Rtd) Johari Ibrahim, Sec Gen 1, YB Tan Sri William Mawan, Me, President SRVA, Capt (Rtd) Dr George Kurka, Deputy President and Major (Rtd) Wara Mejeni, Sec Gen 2. Major (Rtd) Micheal Riman, Treasurer General is not in the picture.

I'm presenting our proposal on reviving / re-forming Sarawak Rangers. 

My Deputy President, Capt (Rtd) Dr George Kurka briefing YB Tan Sri William Mawan on our Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association (SRVA) - its concept and the roles it will be playing.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association (SRVA), which I am setting up to help ease the burdens of the ex Iban Trackers, Sarawak Rangers and the Malaysian Rangers, though not officially registered yet has already received a couple of S.O.S from members who have met problems.

CASE NO. 1:         Tracker Dickson Sawing 74 years old, who had found employment as a security guard in Ulu Tiram, Johor, had suddenly fallen ill and partly paralysed after eating a handout given by a good samaritan. He had been living in a shack and out of works for sometime. He was living on handouts from neighbours. The news found its way to me via an acquaintance, Major Ding the Second-In-Command of 3rd Malaysian Rangers based in Kem Oya, Sibu, Sarawak.

The good thing about Malaysians are that, sometimes, in time of needs, there are always people with big hearts who are always willing to help other people in need.

In the case of Tracker Dickson, an ex Navy personnel took Dickson's case and highlighted it in the media. Major (Rtd) Murugayah, who was an ex Malaysian Rangers himself, followed up the case. Major Ding. the Second-In-Command of 3rd Malaysian Rangers called to tell me about the case and said they are going to fly Tracker Dickson back to Sibu, put him up in one of the empty married quarters until such time a house is built for him and wife on their piece of land in Sri Aman, 2nd Division of Sarawak. That is very kind of 3rd Rangers.

However, I was told that, Tracker Dickson will have to stay in Johor Bharu to undergo medical treatment until he is fit to travel. When I contacted Major (Rtd) Andy Murugayah, he said he is willing to pay for Tracker Dickson's and wife's fares to Sibu. Here's another good Samaritan.

Meanwhile Tracker Dickson and wife is now under the care of 1st Malaysian Rangers based in Majidee Camp in Johor Bharu, Johor.

CASE NO. 2:     Sgt (Rtd) Ambau Gerasi, an ex Sarawak Rangers personnel has been in Kuching General Hospital for a medical treatment. Since he is fit to travel back to his hometown in Kapit, he was discharged. However, he needed monetary help to pay for the shipment of his special bed which was presented to him by Persatuan Bekas Tentera Malaysia (PBTM), an ex Army Association, back to Kapit. The cost of shipment is RM450.00. We are awaiting for a good Samaritan to help out.

These are some of the assistances that SRVA can undertake once we are fully operational and have the fund available at hand.

Thank you all for the big heart. God bless you all.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Expensive Cheap Air Asia

Air Asia, the world's best low-cost carrier is not cheap at times, in fact, it punishes air travellers on certain aspects. I found this out the hard way.

Excess Baggage Weight
In 2009, I brought 100 of my books for a book launch from KL to Kuching. I was very much over weight and was slapped with a whopping almost RM500 for the excess.

Not Sports-Friendly
Two years ago I was invited to participate in a golf tournament in Kuching and brought my own golf set from KL. Though I was not over weight, I was charged an extra RM50 for bringing a sports good. What is the logic? Why discourage sports? This is one of the fields that Air Asia should promote and encourage. In fact, I would go further as to suggest that it should encourage sports enthusiasts by offering FREE passage for their sports equipments. This could be one of the many good things it could give back to the community.

Punishment for Rescheduling Flights.
A one-way RM200 (rounded figure) flight became a RM500 flight, all because I changed my date. Except maybe for the insurance coverage, surely the other aspects are just purely management tasks and a part of the staffs' job which will not incur extra costs.

We understand, everything meant money to you (Air Asia) but please be logic and be fair to your passengers / customers. You are increasingly not living to your tag as being the cheap carrier. Maybe now you can modify your motto from " now everyone can fly" to "now everyone can fly, grudgingly."

Friday, 14 October 2011

Forming Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association (SRVA)

There are too many sad tales about the ex servicemen in Sarawak. I do not want to mention the  predicaments of ex servicemen in Peninsula Malaysia as my effort is directed towards Sarawak only. Someone may ask me: Why Sarawak only? This is because all my works from the very beginning had started with the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers. I have heard and seen how they fared after they had left the service. Many are living below the poverty line. Many are eking a living and find it hard to make ends meet.

I came to a conclusion that forming SRVA will be the most noble thing I could ever think of. We plan to make money through honest means - engaging in legal business activities. We do not want to beg for money and funds.

These money will be used to raise the standard of living of the veterans and their families. The details are spelt out in SRVA's Constitution.

Though priority will be given to the Sarawak and Malaysian Rangers, we feel we should not neglect the other Sarawak veterans from other Corps. They can apply to be members as well but they will not have any voting rights. We have not thrashed out the details of what they are entitled or not entitled to.

We had formed a protem committee and had had the first meeting on 19 September 2011 with me as the protem President, Capt Dr. George Kurka as the Deputy President, Capt Johari Ibrahim as the Secretary General and Major Micheal Riman as the Treasury General.

After the meeting we held a press conference.

The Borneo Post of 20 September 2011 carried our messages.

Immediately after my return from Sarawak on 27 September 2011, I wrote to YAB Pehin Sri Abdul Taib and YB Tan Sri Alfred Jabu to seek an appointment to see them on two things:

1.   Reviving the Sarawak Rangers.

2.   Formation of the Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association.

The first may take sometime and with more efforts, while as the second (SRVA) is on the way to being registered with ROS.

Update No. 1 (28 October 2011)
I have an appointment with Senior Minister YB Tan Sri James Masing who had been supporting my moves in this issue on 3 November 2011. I tried to get dates to see the CM and DCM but they are busy and very much tied up.

I have prepared the necessary proposal paper on the proposal to revive Sarawak Rangers and formation of Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association.

I hope to impress on YB Tan Sri James Masing to help me push the idea to the highest level.

Update No. 2 (3 November 2011)
As planned, I met YB Tan Sri James Masing in his Ministry on 3 November 2011. We had a fruitful discussion. I briefed him on my two plans:

1.     Formation of Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association, which will be registered through the new Veterans Act / Council which was recently tabled in Parliament and now awaiting for the final endorsement by DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong - most likely in December 2011. That is why we do not want to have it registered through ROS, as it would mean we would have to re-register it again with the Veterans Council later.

         The Association has already been accepted by the Ministry of Defence even though it is functioning under its protem committee. It was brought to my attention that some former members of the Sarawak Rangers questioned our rights in forming SRVA. As we are members of the Malaysian Rangers and not Sarawak Rangers, we shouldn't call our Association by that name. Name aside, the Association will strive to serve ALL SERVICEMEN, including ex- Iban Trackers, ex- Sarawak Rangers, ex- Malaysian Rangers, other ex-servicemen from the other Corps and their immediate family members. This is spelt out in our Constitution. I used the term "Sarawak Rangers" because we want to honour and respect them for the sacrifices that they had made to this nation of ours.  

2.      The revival of Sarawak Rangers.   In my proposal paper, I based the organisation of the New Sarawak Rangers on a  standard Infantry Battalion. We know, asking for a Battalon is too much. It is up to the State to determine the size of the Unit it can afford ot sustain.  

          The Minister voiced his opinion that he like the idea of retaining the tracking skills it was famous for. This will be an aspect that will be considered. I have touched on the roles that the New Sarawak Rangers can play in.

Meeting Minister YB Tan Sri James Masing in his Ministry.
L to R:  WO 1 (Rtd) Temenggong Datuk Kanang ak Langkau SP PGB, Lt Col (Rtd) Robert Rizal Abdullah PGB, YB Tan Sri James Masing, Captain (Rtd) Johari Ibrahim and Captain (Rtd) Cr George Kurka.

I presented my book to the Minister

Update No. 3 (4 November 2011)
The next day, 4 November 2011, I had my second meeting to fine-tune the SRVA.

Commander 9 Brigade (right), Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw (the first Iban General) in attendance.

To my right is Secretary General Capt (Rtd) Hj Johari Ibrahim, Temenggong Datuk Kanang ak. Langkau SP, PGB and Major (Rtd) Kahar.

L to R:  Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw (in attendance only), Commander 9 Brigade, Capt Dr George Kurka, Deputy President of SRVA.
At the other end of the table is Major (Rtd) Micheal Riman PGB

       L to R:  Warrant Officer 1 (Rtd) Adi Jala, Major (Rtd) Kahar, me, Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw, Capt (Rtd) Hj Johari Ibrahim, WO 1 (Rtd) Temenggong Kanang ak. Langkau SP, PGB and Capt Dr George Kurka.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Good Winds of Change in Sarawak.

There are visibly good winds of change blowing in Sarawak now. I hope it brings about some permanent change and not the seasonal, brought about by the coming General Election which is just around the corner.

Since I initiated Op Ngerapuh / Op Mai Pulai, an operation to bring home remains of the 21 Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers KIA in Malaya, back to their homeland in Sarawak, the public, at large, are more aware of the sacrifices the Ibans had made in the Malayan Emergency. When before, they were unknown to most, now they have become a talking point at coffee shops and kopitiams. The State and the Federal governments are now heeding the mounting calls and requests from the many veterans association in Sarawak to recognise and value the services the veterans had rendered to the Country by giving back what were due to them..

Below are some of the points highlighted in the Borneo Post of 11 October 2011, an English language daily in Sarawak.

The ex-Iban Trackers and ex-Sarawak Rangers will not be forgotten for the one-time payment of RM3000.00 by the government, in appreciation of their services during the Malayan Emergency 1948 - 1960.

At last, a pledge that more Sarawakians will hold senior ranks and appointment in the Malaysian Army. But first, more Sarawakians must be wooed to join.

YB Tan Sri James Masing, the senior minister for Land Development had been fully suportive of my plans to re-form the Sarawak Rangers and the Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association which I'm forming to help raise the quality of lives of the ex Trackers, ex Sarawak Rangers, ex Malaysian Rangers and other Sarawak veterans as well. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tracking the Trackers up the Mighty Rejang River.

General Datuk Stephen Mundaw called me one day. Would I like to join his team on a trip up the Rejang River? I can do my search for the Trackers.

That was the chance I had been waiting for and I wouldn't like to miss it for all the world. That was a golden opportunity too for the Documentary Film team to make the last phase of their shooting. I called Kamaruddin the Director, of the plan. He agreed at the very last minute but will follow at a later date.

As usual, I wanted to kill two birds with one stone. It is not easy for me to make a trip to Kuching. It is always governed by financial availability. I wanted to follow up on what I had suggested in my speech during the reburial ceremony of the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers KIA in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 - the revival of the Sarawak Rangers and another idea that had just cropped up from discussions with friends, i.e. forming up a Sarawak Rangers Veteran Association (SRVA).
SRVA aims to be a business-orientated association. We intend to make money and we intend to use it for the good of these veterans and their families.

I flew down to Kuching on Sunday,18 September 2011.

On Monday, 19 September 2011 I held a meeting with my SRVA protem Committee Members At about 1700 hours on the same day, I flew to Sibu. Gen Datuk Stephen was kind enough to provide me with an accomodation in his Officers Mess. I didn't have the time to use the Mess facilities as I arrived at night and left early the next day for Kapit. The VIP room was excellent.

My express boat left the Express Boat Terminal in Sibu town at 8 a.m sharp. Good thing I left the Officers Mess at 7 a.m. It was a good 30 minutes drive. I had enough time for breakfast in town with Major Ding, 3rd Rangers Second-In-Command. He was to be my guide throughout my trip to Ulu Rejang. His primary duty was actually in charge of his Rafting team that would be taking part in the annual rafting competition in Ulu Rejang.

The journey upriver took about 3 1/2 hours at RM40.00.

The Express Boat was fast. It could easily be 50mph.

Ships like this was a common sight going up or down the Rejang River, empty or ladened with logs.

We passed the awesome Durin bridge spanning the Rejang River.

Logging activities by the river.

More logging activities. This is one of the major contributory factors that turned the Rejang River into a murky, heavily silted and pulluted river.

The result:  polluted and floating logs that are dangerous to boats plying the river.

(To be continued)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Reunion of Sultan Abdullah's descendents on 1 September 2011.

For the first time, descendents of Perak's 26th Sultan, Paduka Seri Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ja'afar Safiuddin Mua'adzam Shah (1874 - 1877) had organised a reunion on September 1, 2011 at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh, Perak.

The event was attended by about 300 descendents from 6 generations. However, many didn't know about the reunion 

Paduka Seri Sultan Abdullah Myhammad Shah II Ibni Almarhum Ibni Sultan Ja'afar Safiuddin Mu'adzam Shah was proclaimed the 26th Sultan of Perak after the signing of the Treaty of Pangkor on 20th January 1874.

Implicated with the murder of the British Resident J.W.W Birch, he was deposed and exiled to the Syechelles. He was later allowed to come back to Singapore, where he died in 1922. He was buried at Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar, Perak. 

Some of the participants

My family: My wife - 4th generation. My daughter and son - 5th generation. My 4 grandchildren - 6th generation.

Raja Said Tauphy Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II's lineage

The 4th generation.

Close up of the 4th generation.

Sunday, 21 August 2011



Address:    Kerangan Bungkang, Tapang Nawi, Katibas, Song, Sarawak.

The Story / Episode:    In 1943, when he was about 3 years old, he was adopted and taken to New Zealand. He joined the NZ Army and sometime in 1956, while enroute to Singapore and Malaya to join the Commonwealth Forces in fighting the Communist Insurgency, he stopped briefly to see his family in Sarawak. That was the last his family had seen and heard of him.

Is he still alive? If he is dead, where is he buried? That are the painful questions that his family members have been asking for the last 50 odd years.

If anyone have any information, please contact me at +6012 2751171  or email :

Sunday, 7 August 2011

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Monday, 1 August 2011

Claiming a Panglima Gagah Berani gallantry award for a contact he made 38 years ago.

I received a call this morning from one of my Section Commanders ( a Corperal then). He seeks a Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) gallantry medal for a contact he made in Sarawak's First Division where he and the section he led killed 2 CTs. That was in 1973.

I was astounded. Why only after 38 years he dug up and brought up the issue?

It is unthinkable to claim such a prestigeous award when the incident had happened 38 years ago! And not every skirmishes with the CTs deserved a gallantry award. If we go by that yardstick, then, I would have been awarded 4 PGBs. The situations, circumstances and how the battle was fought by the deserving individual will play a big role in determining whether he deserved to be given a gallantry award. To me, that skirmish he fought was simple and almost without any resistance as the 2 CTs were poorly armed with a home made shot gun.

In any case, what can I do as the final authority rested with the Commanding Officer then?  If the then Commanding Officer saw that he didn't deserve the PGB, should he change his mind after 38 years? Can he now write a citation and recommend him for the award?

Can somebody in authority give me the feed back?

So far I have came across 2 such claims. Why suddenly the fuss now? Most possibly, the publicity given to the homecoming of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers the last few years that culminated in the reburial on 27 July 2011 was one factor. The handsome amount of allowance the PGB receipients receive is another. Thirdly, he must have thought I can do miracles - after my successful role in bringing back the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Reviving Sarawak Rangers.

Firm in the belief that "only Dayaks can kill Dayaks", Rajah Charles Brooke formed an all-Dayak 32-men strong force that was later to be known as the Sarawak Rangers on October 1862. But it was only gazetted on 2 September 1872. From then on, no military expeditions were launched without it. Sarawak Rangers became the nucleus of every expeditions he mounted against the rebellious Dayaks. Sarawak Rangers must never disappear into the folds of history. It is an important link to our illustrious past. It is the pride of the Ibans and Sarawak. This I had mentioned in my speech on 27 July 2011, during the reburial ceremony of the 21 Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed during the first phase of the Malayan Emergency 1948 - 1960. Sarawak's top leaderships were present, including the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Federal Home Minister, YB William Mawan, YB Tan Sri James Masing and Sarawak's top brass, amongst the many.

Sarawak Rangers had been the pride of the Rajahs who had taken great personal interest in it. All its Commanding Officers and trainers were the personal choice of the Rajahs.

However, due to the Great Economic Recession of the 1930s, the Rajah could not sustain the Force and on 29 February 1932, Sarawak Rangers was officially disbanded. Most returned to their long houses while some were absorbed into the Sarawak Constabulary.

In August 1941, just before the Japanese Army invaded Sarawak, the Rangers was re-raised and it was involved in the defence of Miri/Lutong and Kuching.

The Japanese Forces were too strong for the Rangers. They conceded defeat and dispersed. Later they were to join Major Tom Harrison and the Z Force to fight and harrass the Japanese. Sarawak was liberated by the Australian forces on 11 September 1945 and by 29 October of the same year, Z force disintergrated and the ex-Rangers also went home.

Eight weeks after the Malayan Emergency was declared on 16 June 1948, the first group of 49 Iban Trackers were sent to Malaya - to meet the request of the Malayan government. The Commonwealth forces need the tracking skills of the Ibans to track down the communist terrorists in the thick jungle of Malaya.

What happened after that had been mentioned in my other write-ups. The Iban Trackers was an astounding success. As requested by the Iban leaders back home that their warriors be given full military responsibility, the para military Iban Trackers were re-formed into the Sarawak Rangers - a full-fledged military unit with Lt Col C.J Baird as their first Commanding Officer on 1 January 1953. Oganised into two platoons, Sarawak Rangers continued to perform the same task that they were doing when they were Iban Trackers.

Then on 31 March 1960, Sarawak Rangers (Malayan Unit) was disbanded and the next day, 1 April 1960, it became Sarawak Rangers (Far East Land Forces), to become a part of the British Army. They could now be deployed anywhere in the world.

However, on 15 September 1963, it was again disbanded and on 16 September 1963 it became the 1st Battalion, Malaysian Rangers. Only 100 members of the Sarawak Rangers (FELF) volunteered to continue their service while the rest opted to return to their long houses.

Between them they had earned many awards, including:

1.   GEORGE CROSS    Tracker Awang ak. Rawing.
2.   GEORGE MEDAL   Cpl Menggong ak. Panggit.
3.   MILITARY MEDAL   LCpl Sanggau ak. Janti.
4.   BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL    WO 2 Gou ak. Samada.
5.   MENTION IN DESPATCHES    23 of them were awarded.
6.   COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S CERTIFICATES     21 of the were awarded.

Continuing the Legacy
DON'T LET THIS ELITE UNIT DISAPPEAR. They must be revived to remind us of our illustrious past. Let it be a beacon and an example for our future generations to emuliate. The least we can do is to give it a new responsibiity. Create a new SARAWAK RANGERS that will perform ceremonial duties at official residences, offices, premises and other places of public interest. Give them uniforms that reflect their illustrious past and to add colour and dignity to Sarawak. 

Sarawak Rangers had had a long and illustrious history since its inception in 1862 by Rajah Charles Brooke. What they had done and achieved during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 were something that all Sarawakians must be proud of.

In the twelve years of fighting, they had a very low casualty figures - bearing in mind that they were always at the front most in all operations. They suffered only 21 KIA and 25 WIA.

In the process, they had made a name and a reputation as being the best trackers in the world and known for their bravery and prowess in the battle field.

This is a legacy that Sarawak must be proud of. This is the legacy that we must emulate. This is a legacy that we must not allow to disappear into the fold of the history book. We must keep it alive by re-forming it so that the present and the future generation will be reminded of what our fore fathers had achieved and with the hope that the future generations will strive to be better.

Members of the New Sarawak Rangers performing the ngajat welcoming dance.

In full traditional regalia

Another possibility of dress.

Update No. 1 (3 November 2011)
Had an appointment to see and brief YB Tan Sri James Masing today (3 Nov 11) to seek his advice and help to forward our plan to revive Sarawak Rangers as a ceremonial unit for Sarawak only.

He was supportive of the idea and would help bring the matter up to the highest attention. But first, we must get Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association registered vide Veterans Council which should be in force by December 2011.

At the same meeting we offered him as the Advisor to Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association which he accepted. We will follow this up officially with an offer letter.

Waiting for our turn to see YB Tan Sri James Masing. L to R:  Temenggong Datuk Kanang ak Langkau SP PGB, Capt Johari Ibrahim (Rtd), me Lt Col Robert Rizal Abdullah PGB (Rtd) and Capt Dr George Kurka (Rtd) and not in picture is Major Micheal Riman PGB (Rtd). 

Briefing and discussing the issue with the Minister.

After the meeting / discussion, I presented the Minister with a copy of my book, My Adventure.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Home at last - after 60 long years.

For many, they left their long houses against the wishes of their parents. For most of them, the spirits and thirst for adventure in foreign land was too hard to resist. They couldn't hold back their warrior spirits and there was no better place than the turmoil in Malaya to let it loose.

Most were still young men of about 17 years old. Some were already married and had children. It was a one way journey for many - 21 of them to be exact. 

For the parents and wives who had lost their loved ones, there had been no hope of ever seeing their loved ones again - not until Operation Ngerapuh and later called Operation Mai Pulai (Operation Bringing Home) was mooted by me at the end of 2008, with the consent of the Chief Minister.

Three years later on 27 July 2011, the 21 remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers were brought home. They were laid to rest at their final resting place at a Heroes' Graves in Kuching, Sarawak. They are home at last - after 60 long years. It was a tearful "reunion" for many and tears flowed freely that day. Here are some of the scenes.

The pall bearers brought the 21 remains to the burial ground.

.....and carefully placed at the alloted graves.

As the prime mover of the project, I was given the honour to give a speech, where I read a poem and proposed the revival of the Sarawak Rangers. It received an applause from the ex trackers, ex Sarawak Rangers and the next-of-kins. I also suggested what George Swetman had suggested: have a display corner where artifacts, documents and photographs related to the Trackers and Sarawak Rangers could be displayed. Sarawak Museum will undertake this job.

Some of the VIPs - the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Federal Homes Affair Minister, a number of the State Minsters, General Officer Commanding 1 Infantry Division, Brigade Commander of 3 Brigade and 9 Brigade, ex servicemen and Gallantry award holders. 

The flags were carefully folded.

......handed over to the next-of-kins by the CM

Placing the caskets in the graves.

Pte Ugap's elder brother placing a bouquet of flowers over his brother's grave.

A tearful and inconsolable mother, daughter and grand daughter placing a bouquet over Nyambik's grave.

The Heroes' Grave

The epitaph

Sharing the same entrance to the WW2 Heroes' Grave