Thursday, March 21

Paramount chief descendants thankful to the White Rajahs


PRICELESS GIFT: Jacob (right) showing the piece of land the Rajah government gave to their ancestors for helping them to expand their influence in Sarawak during the colonial era.

USEFUL WEAPON IN RECENT TIME: Two of the five swords given by the Second Rajah to Entiggar for the use of the warriors.

TOKEN OF BROTHERHOOD: A Guci presented to Lepan, the daughter of Iban warrior and paramount chief Entiggar.

KUCHING: Descendents of Balau paramount chief the late Entiggar Titir are paying tribute to the White Rajahs for the latter’s priceless present when ruling Sarawak during the colonial era.

The family’s representative Jacob Emang, 74, said what the White Rajahs had left for them was very precious but unfortunately they had never got the chance to convey their appreciation for what the Brooke’s family had done to them.

“So on behalf of the 4,000 over descendents of our late great-great grandfather and Balau paramount chief Entiggar, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratefulness and big thank you to the Brooke family for what they have done.

“I am already the fifth generation in the family tree beginning from our late great-great grandfather Titir but we feel that it is better late than never. Since it was said that Rajah Brooke’s grandson Jason will be in the state we decided to come up with this statement to tell them and the people at large that we will forever appreciate what the White Rajahs had done for us in particular,” he said.

According to Jacob, who is a former education officer and school principal, Titir was the paramount chief from Bukit Balau, and later claimed Bukit Tunggal and lived there with his people and slaves.

He passed the reign to his son Entinggar who later expanded his territory to Sungai Sadong (Simunjan) and when the Second Rajah of Sarawak heard about it the latter became friends with the former and made him a partner.

“They decided to expand Sarawak to Batang Lupar and drove away Rentap who was going against the White Rajah then and as token of brotherhood the Rajah gave five swords to Entiggar and his warriors.

“Besides, the Rajah also presented one Guchi (China Vase) to Entiggar’s sister Lepan, as token of brotherhood between them. Also as appreciation to the warriors for helping them expand their influence in Borneo the Rajah then had declared the interior area land in the Simanggang district as native area land.

“All that land, containing approximately 320 square miles bounded by a line commencing at a point where the first and second divisional boundary meets the frontier between Sarawak and Indonesian Borneo is now better referred to as Batang Strap region,” he said.

He explained that the declaration of the native area land can be found in Sarawak Government Gazette dated February 16, 1952.

“This land is presently being used by us the descendents of former Bukit Balau paramount chief and warrior for cultivation as well as residential and here we would like to also express our thanks to the current state government for still recognising the Sarawak Government Gazette 1952 as a valid document.

“If not, we could have lost our rights over some parts of the land. Thanks to the gazette for it had helped us win our court case against a plantation company that had encroached into our land,” he said.

He also said it was unfortunate that some plantation companies had entered the area with consent from the natives although they knew very well that it had been declared as native land area during the colonial era.

“So for that, we want to give our big thanks to the Brooke family and also the present state government,” he said, adding that they really look forward to meeting any of the Brooke’s family in the near future.