Tuesday, July 5

Remembering those we lost


Contributions of these Sarawakians will never be forgotten

IN 2020, Sarawak lost a few of her sons who during their lifetime had helped ‘Our Motherland’ defend her sovereignty and made Sarawak into what it is today.

Regardless of their professions or backgrounds, they will forever be remembered as the beloved ‘Anak Sarawak’ (Children of Sarawak) whose work and contributions left a lasting legacy and impact to the state.

Armed Forces personnel arriving at Kuching Civic Centre with the casket of the late Awang, in this photo taken on Sept 20. (inset) Datuk Awang Raweng.

Valiant men

The nation’s sole recipient of the George Cross Medal gallantry award from the British government, Sgt (Rtd) Datuk Awang Raweng passed away at his residence in Sri Aman on Sept 18.

He was 91.

Awang was presented with the George Cross – the next highest award in Britain’s honours system after the Victoria Cross – on Nov 20, 1951.

Being a member of the Worcestershire Regiment at the time, the Iban soldier fought off 50 communists and saved an injured British soldier, Pvt G Hughes, during an ambush in Johor in May that year – all despite him sustaining severe injuries himself.

Prior to his death, the Nanga Skrang native was among the 20 surviving George Cross recipients in the Commonwealth.

Awang was entitled to meet Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace once every two years and received a tax-free annuity of about £1,300 from the British government.

He was awarded the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak Award, carrying the honorific title ‘Dato’, by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud in conjunction with the Head of State’s 82nd birthday in 2018.

Awang was laid to rest in the Heroes Grave in Kuching.

File photo, taken in 2018, shows Ngalinuh with his SP medal at his home in Kampung Lusut in Miri; (inset) a photo of Ngalinuh taken when he held the rank of sergeant.

Several months prior, Sarawak bade farewell to Sub-Insp Ngalinuh Bala, a recipient of the nation’s highest gallantry award, the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP).

The Kelabit breathed his last on June 23, at Miri Hospital – at the age of 79.

He is survived by wife Sabit Iwat @ Sinah Ngalinuh Bala and their five children – Ledea, Dalima, Elvis, Nasution and Kontessa.

Ngalinuh was a sergeant and platoon leader with the 15th Battalion of the Police Field Force when he and his team were attacked by a large group of communists in Sibu on April 29, 1972.

Charging from a vantage point, the attackers pinned down a small convoy of armed escorts guarding a shipment of explosives to a Public Works Department (JKR) quarry at Jalan Ulu Oya.

After the initial attack, all the men scrambled out of the lorry and ran for cover to a nearby bulldozer, which had been left there by JKR men carrying out road works.

Cornered behind the vehicle, Ngalinuh and comrade Cpl Etim Bijam decided to counter-attack – in the ensuing fire fight, Ngalinuh was shot in the right thigh, while an enemy was killed.

The two, together with all their comrades, held their ground to prevent the explosives from falling into the hands of the attackers, who later retreated after reinforcement from a patrolling Field Force platoon arrived.

Both Ngalinuh and Etim received the SP medals awarded by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on July 6, 1972.

Ngalinuh was laid to rest in the Borneo Evangelical Mission cemetery in Lambir.

Archive photo shows Angking receiving the ‘Battle Truncheon’ from Abang Openg in Lundu on Nov 19, 1966; (inset) Angking joined the army on Jan 3, 1964 as a Cadet Officer.

Dunstan Nyaring Angking, the first Iban to attain the rank of full colonel in the Malaysian Armed Forces, passed away on Sept 23, at his residence in Taman Stapok Selatan in Kuching.

He was 77.

Born on Aug 18, 1943, at Rumah Panjai Seruai, Spaoh in Saribas, he left behind wife Juliana Din Hatt and their four children – Diliah, Diana, Mark Juing, and Christian Mulok – and nine grandchildren and a great-grandson.

After completing his formal education at St Thomas School in Kuching, Angking joined the army on Jan 3, 1964 as a Cadet Officer and was trained at the Federation Military College, Sungai Besi in Kuala Lumpur.

Angking was commissioned on Dec 7, 1965 as a Second-Lieutenant and posted to the First Battalion Ranger Regiment.

During this tenure, he was the officer who received the ‘Battle Truncheon’ on behalf of his battalion. It was presented to him by then-Head of State, Tun Abang Openg Abang Sapi’ee – the father of Sarawak’s present Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

His career path in the army had him attaining the ranks of Rifle Platoon Commander and Unit Intelligence Officer (Infantry Battalion), ‘Kapten Turus Kuatering’ (Fifth Infantry Brigade), Adjutant-Infantry Battalion (Ranger Regiment), Company Commander – Infantry Battalion (First Ranger Regiment), Company Commander/Instructor Cadet Wing Royal Military College and Battalion Second in Command – Infantry Battalion (First Ranger Regiment).

After leaving the force, he served as a federal Political Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Department from 1991 to 1999.

Angking was also awarded ‘Pingat Perkhidmatan Am’ (June 23, 1966), ‘Pingat Peringatan Malaysia’ (Oct 31, 1969), ‘Kesastria Mangku Negara’ (June 3, 1981), ‘Ahli Mahkota Perlis’ (Oct 27, 1984), ‘Kesastria AngkatanTentera’ (Aug 4, 1984) and then, ‘Pingat Jasa Malaysia’.

His other appointments included the Malaysian Defence Advisor in India (1982-1985).

Back in the 1990s, Ting Pek Khiing was among the most prominent corporate figures in Malaysia. The property mogul passed away in October at age 79.

Sarawak’s property mogul

Year 2020 also saw the passing of Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing – a man known for having set new standards in the property and construction industries not only in Sarawak, but also the whole country.

The renowned tycoon passed away on Oct 16 at his residence in Kuching, at age 79.

Born to a poor family in Bintangor, Ting sold fruits as a teenager but through sheer grit and determination, he made his name as among the most prominent corporate figures in Malaysia in the 1990s.

Ting catapulted onto the national stage as a property developer after having completed the Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort project in just 100 days in 1991, which impressed the then-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In 1994, Ting’s company Ekran Bhd was awarded what was then described as ‘the deal of the century’ – the construction of the RM15-billion Bakun Dam.

He was also responsible for the upgrading works on the Kuching International Airport in 2003, besides other related projects in Sarawak and Sabah.

Ting last made headlines in 2018 with the news about him going to embark on a multi-billion ringgit development project in Langkawi.

The RM30-billion deal would involve the construction of 30,000 high-end condominium units, commercial centres, berthing facilities for ocean liners and yachts as well as other top-of-the-line facilities.

Although he had had his share of financial and legal tussles, Ting left an indelible mark on Sarawak – and indeed, on Malaysia – and he would long be remembered as a ‘trailblazer’ and ‘inspiration for the people’.

Their life stories

For Sarawakians who realise the importance of honour and reputation, and for those who want to be remembered for the deeds performed in their lifetimes, the life stories of Awang, Ngalinuh, Angking and Ting could serve as an inspiration for all.

Their lives and their contributions could be described most accurately by this timeless Malay proverb: ‘Harimau mati meninggalkan belang; manusia mati meninggalkan nama’ (a tiger dies leaving its stripes’; for a man, his name).