The arrival of Nakoda Kassim in Sabah.

The arrival of Nakoda Kassim in Sabah.

After Nyanggau’s death he was succeeded as chief of Ulu Sugut by Guroh of Semambu, Paku. This chief had assisted the late Nakoda Tinggi in dealing with native affairs in the Sugut, Labuk and Ranau regions. When Guroh was chief he was aided by his brother Ugol and Nakoda Kassim and his brother Muling of the Awik, Kalaka. The two brothers Kassim and Muling came to Sabah when Tinggi was chief at Labuk, Sugut and Ranau. On their arrival in the State, they tapped wild rubber in the forests near Labuk like other Iban. They joined the expeditions against Mat Salleh under Tinggi and Bali, and in these wars Kassim killed several enemies.

Nakoda Kassim was an educated and honest man. Because of his fairness in dealing with native affairs at Labuk, Guroh, the chief, recommended that he be made chief at Labuk. This recommendation was approved by the North Borneo Government and Kassim became chief of Labuk. At this time Muling died of old age in Sandakan. Eventually Kassim was able to join the Government service as a clerk. Later he was promoted to Deputy Assistant District Officer at Ranau, with the power of magistrate, a post which he held for many years with the rank of Orang Kaya Kaya. He married the daughter of a Dusun chief. When he retired on pension he took his family back to the Kalaka. At home he associated himself closely with the Anglican Mission and became the staunchest financier and supporter of the advance of the Church and of mission education in the Kalaka and Saribas Districts till his death in 1929.

After Nakoda Tinggi and others had gone to Sabah, Uyut, the eldest son of Penghulu Garran of the Paku, together with Ipa and Chentu went to tap wild rubber near Bintulu. While he was there Uyut met a man named Gima of the Ulu Krian who was doing the same work in the district. After they worked together Uyut joined Gima, leaving Ipa and Chentu, and went to Singapore. From there the two went to Trengganu to tap wild rubber with other Iban who had arrived there before them.

After they had been working for some months in the Trengganu forests, Uyut met Nyanggau of Nanga Buong, Paku, and together they went to Kuala Lumpur and joined the Police Force. Due to his efficiency in the service, Uyut was soon promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal, taking the name of Enche Ibrahim, due to his conversion to Islam. After his promotion, the Government commanded Uyut to join a punitive expedition under Sergeant Tampang of the Awik to fight the rebels at Bentong. They were joined by Kelumpu of Krian and some other Iban. During the fighting Uyut was reported to be very brave. It was said that he fired at the enemy who were hiding in the bush and killed a lot of them; while he himself and two friends behind him stood exposed on the top of the fort. He himself was not hit. They said this was due to the effect of Uyut’s empelias charm, which has the power of protecting its owner from being touched by any kind of war weapon.

After the fighting had ended, Uyut led the Iban out after their enemies to the jungle where he and his comrades Katang, Kelumpu, Embol and Nyanggau slew a great number of the rebels. Uyut himself killed nine enemies and took many captives, whom he conducted in two perahu to the Police Station in town. Due to his gallant service on this expedition, Tampang gave Uyut the name of “Muntegrai”. This was done according to Iban war custom in which an ensumber (praise-name) is given to a man who has killed enemies. After this, both Sergeant Matsirong and Lance Corporal Ibrahim always led expeditions together against the rebels at Bentong and in the State of Pahang.


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