This was The Letter that launched Operation Ngerapuh, now renamed Operation Mai Pulai (a move to bring home the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed in actions and buried in various parts of Malaya and Singapore). The heart-breaking picture of the road-side grave of a Sarawak Ranger killed in action against the communist terrorists at the height of the Malayan Emergency 1948 - 1960, moved me to take the necessary actions.
I saw and read the appeal in a blog. I immediately tried to do something worthwhile. It compounded me why the grave was left where it was. Nobody seemed to care and moved it to a more respectable and dignified location, befitting a soldier who had sacrificed his life to defend this country.
It dawned on me that if the Authorities were nonchalant about one grave, it could happen to the other 20 Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers graves in other parts of Malaya and Singapore. I decided to make a move to make Sarawak realised that her dead heroes are buried, scattered and neglected in Malaya.
In conjunction with my book launch by the Chief Minister of Sarawak on 6 November 2008 in Kuching, I prepared the necessary letter and documents that I intended to hand over to the Chief Minister when I briefed him on the situation.
I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to my proposal to bring back the remains of the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers to Kuching and rebury them in a Heroes Memorial. He gave me one term - that all next-of-kins must give their consents.
I set up a committee to do the necessary ground works and I travelled to Kuching quite often from my home base in Taiping, Perak.
The CM, Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud launched my books on 6 November 2008 in his office.
Discussing the issue with the CM and his Deputy Tan Sri Alfred Jabu ak. Numpang. Kanang ak. Langkau SP, PGB is on the right.
Immediately on my return from Kuching, I wrote a letter to Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM (JHEV) about LKpl Ungkok's road-side grave. Four months later, JHEV exhumed and moved the grave to a Christian Cemetery nearby in full Iban tradition. Thanks JHEV for the quick action.
The "miring ceremony" - an Iban tradition.