Monday, August 1

Heroes “return’ home

The Borneo Post dated Thursday 28 July wrote in its story with the following introduction: “They fought and died for the freedom of their country. They were buried abroad and thought never to return. But some 50 years later, they are finally home.

“The 21 Iban trackers and Sarawak Rangers, who fought gallantly against the communists in the peninsula during the Malayan insurgency, were given top honours and accolades they rightly deserved during the burial of their remains at the Heroes grave of Jalan Budaya, Kuching.”

Historically, it is wrong to say that the Iban trackers fought and died for the freedom of their country. They were, in fact, mercenaries employed by the British to fight the communists in Malaya in the 50s.

Malaya was not their country. Malaya joined Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia in September 1963. Later the trackers were absorbed into the Sarawak Rangers.

Bennett Jarrow of Kapit (he is my father-in-law) was one of those responsible for the recruitment of Iban trackers before and after 1950. Another one was Francis Bucking (or Baking).

Heroes like Menggong, Rentap and Kuyah, all from Lubok Antu walked all the way from Kanowit to Kapit to meet Jarrow.

Nothing has been mentioned about Jarrow’s involvement in recruiting the Iban trackers and later trained them in jungle warfare. However, his name is being mentioned in the war journals of the British Army.

Now we speak of these Iban trackers as heroes and honour them as well. But what about their immediate families? Anything for them?

Nothing! The government wants to politicise the whole thing and people like Alfred Jabu, Deputy Chief Minister blame DAP for not praising their (heroes) contributions to the security of this country.

Not only the families are not given anything, some of them have their native customary rights land taken away from them. Some have remained as poor, if not poorer.

Like Kanang Anak Langkau (the current hero), the families of these heroes should also be given land for them to farm or some monetary rewards as token of government’s appreciation to the families who have been suffering for more than 50 years.


Alfred William James said...

The Iban community should be proud of their 21 trackers who were killed while performing their duties, in contrast of the murderer of the British Governor, was also recognised as hero. Indeed, the 21 Iban`s trackers death is in recognition of their contribution to the state, but others were trying to project the supremacy of their races.

We have some retired policemen who were defending the country during the Emergency period and confrontation in the 1960s and were awarded with SP and PGB, but why they were not invited to attend the Warrior`s Day celebration yesterday? Are their past service not recognised? Do not blame them or retired policemen if they turn against government politically.

retired cop said...

Mr. A.W. James,

Yes, I pity our warriors in the police were not invited.

May be Ibans ex-cop form their own group and support Pakatan Rakyat. The move by ex-ASP Stanny Embat and ex-Insp. Ngumbang to contest against Alfred Jabu in N31 Layar during the 10th Sarawak State Election was the precedent to be followed.

JJJ said...


Manah and patut di selit ke aba wrote-up on the Iban Heroes. Aya kami niang Adrian Tandang ari Nanga Geremai, Kanowit pun "rebah" maia ngenan ke Malaya ari kena serang Kominis.

Komen pangan aku meri penemu, "Sida tu patut di gaga ke Tugu Pengingat ba Kuala Lumpur, awak ke nembiak rebak baru (nyengkaum Zahid Hamidi enggau Hishamuddin) nemu pengingat tuai, kitai Iban berambun ke nyawa ngenan ke menua Malaya ari di rampas olih Kominis.

Enda ibuh meh sida Malaya "rauh-rauh" ke Gaza lalu pulai di beri "heroes welcome"

Anonymous said...

Enti ngarapka bala laut Malaya nan ka menua sida nadai jalai abis Malaya dipegai Chin Peng. Ketegal ti menang sekali team main Ball dikumbai HARIMAU MALAYA, ti dikampung/alam babas ngeleput burit sida. Bala soldadu Malaya semina nemu ngachau indu ti datai ba menua kitai, pui...

Anonymous said...

Joe T,

Well expressed.

Not to mention names and roles of some Police Officers (who were receipients of PGB), my only ONE question is:

Was Awang Anak Rawing (George
Cross Receipient) invited to the function?

Ex Kapten Tentera Malaysia said...

I am very happy that the 21 who died whilst on duty during the Malayan Emergency, are finally accorded the status "Warrior" that they rightly deserved.
But it is still not enough to just call them warriors. I agree with the writer that the government should go another step further, track down their descendants and find out how they live, and perhaps provide them with assistance if needed, otherwise its not of much use to anyone by just being a descendant of a warrior and live in poverty.
This should not be politicise by any party be it BN or the opposition.