International Women’s Day: Dr Sim highlights Barbara Mendu as one of outstanding Sarawakian women


Dr Sim’s tribute to the women who built Sarawak.

KUCHING (March 8): The late Barbara Mendu Bay, one of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) founding members and founder of SUPP Women’s Wing, has a road here named after her, Jalan Mendu, in recognition for her many contributions to the community.

She is among the list of women that Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian paid tribute to on his Facebook page in conjunction with International Women’s Day today.

“The exceptional Iban was also the first president of Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) in 1958. A courageous woman who dedicated her life to volunteer work and political activism in Sarawak, Barbara even started a school to cater to poor children living in the Sekama area where she lived,” said Dr Sim in the post.

Last year, SUPP and SIDS established the Barbara Mendu Bay Education Fund to honour her remarkable contributions to the community, he said.

Dr Sim started the series of posts on Tuesday, and will continue to highlight several Sarawakian women who had made an impact for Sarawakians throughout the next few days.

His first highlight on Tuesday was Ambassador Gloria Corina Peter Tiwet, the first female Sarawakian ambassador representing Malaysia and the first woman ambassador from the Dayak community. She is currently Malaysia’s Ambassador to Brazil and was Malaysian High Commissioner-designate to Nigeria in 2018.

He highlighted Barbara Mendu Bay, Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie, Penghulu Lucy Lingam and Dato Pandelela Rinong.

Also on the list were Sarawak’s first woman High Court Judge, Justice Datuk Yew Jen Kie who made history in 2010 when she was elevated as Sarawak’s first woman judge in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

Penghulu Lucy Lingam, on the other hand, is the first Indian woman to be appointed as Penghulu in Sarawak, in 2019. She is also the only Indian woman in the country holding the Penghulu post. Prior to that, she held the Kapitan post for 11 years for the Chinese-majority Batu Lintang area, and was dubbed a Kapitan Cina.

Sarawak is also home to the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal, Dato Pandelela Rinong. She took home a bronze medal in the 10m platform diving event at the 2012 London Olympics. The Bidayuh from Bau won numerous medals at the national and international levels, became a role model to young girls who dream of breaking the gender barrier and achieving greatness in their chosen fields.