Quarrel between Penghulu Munan and Mr. Bailey.
After Penghulu Minggat died in Sumatra in 1890, Mr. Bailey, the Resident of the Second Division, installed a man named Ampan as penghulu to succeed the deceased chief. But Penghulu Ampan was a man of strange character. He would not reserve Penghulu Minggat’s Pulau Papan, Pulau Baan, Pulau Rutan and Pulau Danan in the Ulu Awik. The setting aside of such pulau was the way in which chiefs of the country sought to reserve large trees for canoes and rattan to tie the beams of new longhouses when they were built.
Due to Ampan’s behaviour, Munan, the eldest son of Penghulu Minggat, his brothers and his late father’s followers became very upset. They could not approve of such a thing, since according to tradition each river occupied by the Iban must have a reserved forest in which trees and rattan can grow. In order to safeguard his father’s reserved forest, Munan went to Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of Paku and the OKP Nanang of Padeh to seek their advice regarding the matter. It may be recalled that the Paku was Penghulu Minggat’s native land, so naturally his son Munan in his despair sought the advice of his relatives in the Saribas.
While Munan was away visiting the Paku and Padeh chiefs, Ampan went to report to Mr. Bailey who was at that time visiting the government headquarters at Kabong in the lower Kalaka. He told Mr. Bailey that all was well in his district, except that Munan, the son of Penghulu Minggat, was absent in the Saribas urging Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu”, OKP Nanang and others to rebel against the government. Without further investigation Mr. Bailey became violent. He summoned Munan to come at once and meet him at Kabong. While in the Saribas, Munan was told by his relatives that it was traditional for Iban in each river to reserve special areas for Pulau Papan, Pulau Baan, Pulau Rutan and Pulau Danan, as his father Penghulu Minggat had correctly done in the Awik River.
When Munan arrived home, he found a summon awaiting him from the Resident to an urgent meeting at Kabong fort. While he was preparing for this, the rumour reached him that he was sure to be arrested due to his disagreement with Ampan, the new chief of the area. This rumour upset Munan very much. So he and his followers went to Kabong in a big warboat to meet the Resident.
When Munan’s boat arrived at the jetty below the fort, Mr. Bailey came down the plankwalk with two pistols in his hands and called for Munan to come out of his boat without delay. Hearing this, Munan suddenly took up his sword and went out to meet the Resident. He was closely followed by a man named Jungan, later the Penghulu of Sabelak. Seeing the danger, Pengiran Matali, the senior Native Officer who accompanied Mr. Bailey, urged that neither Bailey nor Munan try to harm the other physically. At the same time the Pengiran suggested that their quarrel should be settled by the Rajah personally, and he offered to escort Munan to Kuching with an explanatory letter from the Resident. This suggestion was promptly agreed to by Mr. Bailey and Munan, and Pengiran Matali took Munan by boat to meet the Rajah in Kuching. On his arrival in Kuching, Munan was straight away detained in the prison at Pangkalan Batu to await the Rajah’s decision.
After some time in the prison, one night Munan dreamt a strange dream. In it he thought that he met the Ranee, the wife of Rajah Charles Brooke, who told him that he (Munan) would not meet with any trouble and that early the next day he would be released from detention. So it was that the next morning at about 9.00 a.m. the Rajah and the Ranee came to the prison and ordered that Munan be freed and returned to the Kalaka immediately.
Munan was joyful, but his hatred of Mr. Bailey was growing stronger and stronger. After he had stayed some time in his mother’s house at the Awik, he returned to his wife’s house in the Julau where he was a penghulu. It should be explained that Munan had married Subang, an adopted daughter of Layang and Tambong. Tambong was the only daughter of Libau “Rentap” who had migrated to the Entabai after he had been defeated at Sadok in 1861. From the Entabai, after the death of Libau “Rentap”, the family had moved to the nearby Julau River. While Munan was living in the Julau, the people of the Ulu Ai, under chiefs Penghulu Ngumbang “Brauh Langit” and Penghulu Bantin “Ijau Lelayang”, became restless. Due to their hostile activities, the Rajah ordered Munan to attack them, and he did so in 1898. During the expedition he and his warriors killed 18 people from Lubang Baya, and went down the Batang Ai as far as Nanga Kaong. Besides killing these enemies he also took some captives. After the raids were over, he returned down the Batang Lupar past the Simanggang fort to Sibu. The news of his victory over the enemy spread round about, surprising everyone including his arch rival Mr. Bailey at Fort Alice, Simanggang.
Later in 1903, due to his meritorious service and bravery in assisting the government in various punitive expeditions, the Rajah ordered Munan to move from the Julau to Pulau Kertau near Sibu. Shortly after he had settled down at Kertau, the Rajah conferred on Munan the title of Penghulu Dalam, carrying a monthly salary which he enjoyed till his death in 1914. Furthermore, due to his wisdom and influence over the Rajang Iban, the Rajah appointed him a full member of the Council Negeri in 1906, a post which he held till his death. He succeeded Pengarah Ringkai of Rantau Anak, Betong, whose appointment was from 1889-1902 and the OKP Nanang of Padeh, Saribas, who had served from 1891-1901.