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Iban trackers to finally make their way home
by Simon Ingka Crown, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on July 21, 2011, Thursday
AMAZED: Jabu (left) records a Lemambang from Kapit (with tattoos) performing the miring ceremony. Looking on are Datu Nellie Tanggai (second left), Temenggong Kanang Langkau (right) and others. — Photos by Jeffery Mostapha
KUCHING: The remains of 21 Iban trackers who served the British gallantly during the colonial era and Confrontation will be brought home soon.
The remains will be flown here using Hercules Charlie aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). This is made possible with full support from the state and federal governments through an operation called ‘Mai Pulai’.
On Tuesday night, a miring ceremony was performed at the premises of Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak here to seek blessings from the gods for the safe return of all the soldiers’ remains.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu was among the distinguished guests who attended the event. Temenggong Kanang Langkau had the honour of leading in the chanting and miring ceremony.
Kanang is famed for his gallantry while serving in the armed forces. He received the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP), the highest gallantry award from the Agong.
According to Jabu, 21 jars sacred to the Ibans would be brought to Kuala Lumpur where the remains of the brave soldiers were to be placed.
He said the graves of the soldiers had been dug and the remains collected after being given a ‘genselan’ (sacrifice of pig or chicken blood) in respect of their resting ground.
“It (exhumation) had to be done in a very careful manner and with full tradition so as not to displease the gods,” he said, adding that the exhumation process was performed only by those who were spiritually blessed and possessed a special amulet.
Jabu said prior to the exhumation process, a final respect ceremony was held at Wardieburn Camp in Kuala Lumpur. It was attended by all Ibans living and working in KL.
He said the aircraft carrying the jars would land at the TUDM base in Kuching at 12.30pm on July 26.
“From there, the jars would be brought to the First Division Camp here for safe keeping before they are sent to their final resting ground the next day.”
According to Jabu again, the Mai Pulai ops, formerly known as ‘Ops Ngerapuh’ was mooted a few years ago with strong support from Chief Minister Pehin Seri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Chief Minister, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein and Assistant Minister of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Talip Zulpilip are expected to attend the burial ceremony at the cemetery behind St Joseph’s Cathedral here.
The burial would be conducted in a dignified manner befitting Iban warriors.