The Dayaks after the arrival of the white rule.
When James Brooke was installed Rajah of Sarawak by Raja Muda Hashim and Pengiran Makota in 1841, the Dayaks of the Saribas and Skrang combined their forces and attacked settlements as far north as Bintulu and to the southeast as far as Pontianak. Due to the trouble caused by these attacks, the Rajah, with the help of a British Royal Navy contingent under Captain Henry Keppel, attacked the Saribas in June 1843, at first taking Padeh, then Paku and finally Rimbas.
They fought against the old Orang Kaya Pemancha Dana “Bayang”, his warrior sons (Nanang, Luyoh and Aji) and their followers from the Padeh, Spak and the main upper Layar river. It was at the end of this war that he and Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Paku (the son of the very old Uyut “Bedilang Besi”) formally submitted to the Brooke government some months later at Tanjong Sabuloh in the lower Saribas but they refused to sign the Saribas treaty.
For the same reason an expedition made up of the joint services of James Brooke and the Royal Navy under Captain Henry Keppel attacked the Batang Lupar Iban of the Undup and Skrang rivers. In 1844, in the Undup a large number of raiders were killed, including Lieutenant Ward, while in the Skrang a Malay Chief, Datu Patinggi Ali, and Mr. Steward suffered the same fate at Kerangan Peris.
In January 1845, Linggir of Paku led a party of Saribas chiefs for formal submission to the Rajah at Kuching in accordance with the promise they had made at Padeh, Paku and Rimbas in 1843. The Skrangs were represented by chief Linggi because Libau “Rentap” refused to see the white men.
The sea-fight at Beting Maru and the Saribas Iban and Malays.
In 1849 Linggir and his Saribas warriors raided Igan, Paloh and Matu. On the way home, they decided to attack Sarikei, fifty miles inside the Rajang River, which was strongly defended and they turned back to attack Duri near the mouth of the Rejang River. Duri had only a short time before been raided by the Layar Dayaks under OKP Dana “Bayang” of the Padeh and Datu Patinggi Udin of Rantau Anak on the middle Layar.
When Linggir and his warriors reached the mouth of the Kalaka river, they saw a huge steamer moored there. They paddled hard towards the mouth of the Saribas River. When they came to the sand bar of Beting Maru, they were met by another steamer with guns and canons.
Sensing danger, Linggir ordered all his men to land at the sand bar and make an attempt to escape to the Undai stream whilst his boat and Laksamana Amir’s boat will be used to attack the steamer to avert its attention.
Unfortunately, most of the Skrang followers boat choosed to escape across the Saribas River mouth onto the Batang Lupar River. While attempting to do this, they suffer most casualties in the hand of Brooke’s men. Those who managed to escape to the Skrang were the Apai Dendang’s men, Linggir’s staunch allies from lower Skrang.
As for Linggir’s men who managed to land at Cape Maru, they left their boat on the sand bar and escaped under cover of darkness by land to the Undai Stream, a tributary of the Rimbas above Pusa settlement. That is why there is no casualty for those who escaped on land, as the Brooke’s men would not dare to risk chasing after the stragglers in the dark. Their boats were later either destroyed or being used by the Brooke’s men in pursuit of Linggir and Abang Apong to their hideout inside Paku River.
With great courage, Linggir and Abang Apong’s warboats attacked the schooner. While attacking the Schooner, Linggir’s brother-in-law named Chabu or “Saribas Jack” slipped and fell to the sea but was rescued by the Brooke force and later sent home safely. Linggir’s men made a brave attempt to climb onboard the schooner, but it was defended very well by its crew.
After sometime, Linggir ordered their men to abort the attack and escape up the Saribas River. Out of 17 boats only two managed to escape up the Saribas that night under the guidance of Linggir and Abang Apong. When they had escaped all danger, Linggir’s men beat a gong so that their friends who escaped onland in the darkness that night would know the direction to the Saribas River.
Next day, the combined forces under the Rajah and Captain Henry Keppel went on the tide up the Saribas River. At the vacated Malay village of Buling, near the mouth of the Paku River, the forces stopped for the night. All the Malays of this settlement had already fled upriver to live with the Iban at Kerangan Pinggai in the Paku.
Early next morning, on the tide, the forces used the light Saribas warboats they had captured at Beting Maru to go up the Paku River. Just below an Iban settlement called Matop, they encountered several huge impassible tree trunks lying across the river. These ensurai trees had been fell by Linggir’s warriors to hinder their advance. It took a long time for the Rajah’s men to cut through these barriers so that their boats could reach their destination at Nanga Peka that evening.
Hearing that the Rajah’s forces had landed at Nanga Peka, about half a mile below his settlement, Linggir gathered eighteen warriors to prepare for the ambush the next day. He was unable to summon additional fighters to join them in an attack on the Rajah’s advancing flotilla, as his other warriors had not yet managed to find their way home through the forest into which they fled following the Beting Maru battle.
Late in the evening, after the enemy had landed at Nanga Peka, Linggir sent Enchana “Letan” and his young nephew, a warrior named Gerijih, to spy on them. They heard the Rajah presiding over a council of war. He was heard to command Janting (son in law of the deceased Ijau “Lang”) of Lingga and his Balau warriors to lead the Rajah’s bala to attack the Saribas next morning. In reply, Janting said that he and his fighting men would not dare to risk this, since, as he put it, “we are in fear of the two powerful leading enemies colored like the biring sempidan fighting cocks, who will arrogantly scratch the earth on the battle¬ground tomorrow.” This meant that Janting and his people, spiritually seen as fighting cocks, would not be able to defeat two of the leading enemies in the next day’s battle.
After the Balau chief had made this reply, the spies heard Jugah, chief of the Lundu Sebuyaus, telling his leader that he would command his three sons Kalong, Bunsi and Tujang to take the lead. “We Sebuyaus”, he said, “once born, never return to our mother’s wombs.” By this he meant that, as human beings, we die only once.
That night Linggir called a council of war. In it he asked the Laksamana Amir to determine their fate in the coming battle. The latter read his katika and said that Linggir, his son Abang Apong, and Abang Gambong his nephew should be the warriors to lead in battle.
Early next morning Linggir, Abang Apong and Abang Gambong led their warriors to set an ambush at the foot of a low hill overlooking Nanga Peka. While they were waiting for the enemy to advance, they directed three young men, Saang, Muking and Mula, to shake the top of a jack fruit tree on the hill top to draw the enemy’s attention.
When the enemy saw the boys playing and shaking the tree branches, Bunsi and his brothers Tujang and Kalong ran forward to attack them. Bunsi was struck off by one of Linggir’s warriors, Kedit “Rindang” that killed him on the spot. Tujang was slashed on his head by Linggir “Mali Lebu” and jumped into the Peka stream where he died.
When Linggir was about to cut off Tujang’s head, the enemy fired a volley of shots at them. One of the bullets wounded Abang Gambong severely on the arm. At this Linggir and Abang Apong left Tujang alone in order to rescue Abang Gambong.
After this lightning swift fight was over, Linggir and his men took away Abang Gambong up the Paku River. He died while they were carrying him by boat up the Anyut stream, and he was buried at Lubok Engkala near Engkarebai.
From Nanga Peka the Rajah’s forces went further up and burnt Majang’s house at Nanga Anyut, so that its inhabitants went to join the people of other houses after the war was over.
After the battle of Paku, the Rajah’s force returned to Buling on their way back to Kuching. There, Jugah’s son-in-law was accidentally killed by the force’s own gun which went off in the boat. His death shocked Jugah who begged for leave from the Rajah in order to return to bury in the Lundu cemetery his three sons killed in one day.
After the departure of the Lundu chief, the Rajah and his followers returned to their ships at Buling. As they did so a gunner was accidentally killed by another gun-shot. He was buried in the Malay cemetery at Telok Semang near Seruai. About an hour after the burial, his head was cut off and taken away by Ujan “Batu” of Luban of the lower Paku. Some weeks after the return of the expedition the Rajah met Saribas Jack who begged to be released and the Rajah arranged for him to be sent home to Kabong and to walk to his longhouse in Paku where his people were surprised to see his return as they thought he was dead during the sea fight at Beting Maru.
About three weeks later, Linggir and other leaders from the Paku went to renew their submission to the Rajah at Kuching. On this occasion Saribas Jack found a way to meet the Rajah. He told the ruler his real name was Chabu, the brother-in-law of chief Linggir, that he wished to be forgiven and admitted that he joined his people’s past expeditions which he promised not to repeat again.
In 1850 after the battle of Beting Maru, a fort was built at the junction of the Skrang and the Batang Lupar Rivers to prevent the warriors under Libau “Rentap” from collaborating with those under Linggir and Aji in raiding the peaceful people living along the coast. The establishment of Fort James at Skrang was strongly opposed by Libau “Rentap” and the upper Skrang chiefs. As a matter of fact, Libau “Rentap” and his warriors attacked it on 26 April 1850, when Allan Lee was killed by Libau “Rentap” son-in-law named Layang, at Lintang Batang a few miles up the Skrang River.
Dana “Bayang” contracted smallpox and died in 1854, with one of his sons named Umpu who also died of the same disease. After Dana “Bayang’”s death he was succeeded as chief of the Padeh and upper Layar by his third son Aji, who, although younger than Nanang and Luyoh, was braver and showed better leadership than his elder brothers. However, he ruled only four years and died in the Langit river war in 1858. He was succeeded as chief by Nanang who was eventually promoted to the rank of Orang Kaya Pemancha in 1886 after his submission at Sadok Hill during the third punitive expedition against Libau “Rentap” which defeated the Skrang chief who declared himself as the Raja Ulu (Upstream King) in the style of Rajah Brooke himself with a young girl installed as a ranee.
In 1854 an innocent headmen named Apai Dendang “Gasing Gila” was attacked by the Tuan Besar and his brother the Tuan Muda, James Brooke-Brooke and Charles Brooke, near Tekalong in the Skrang River for allegedly supplying salt to the rebel Libau “Rentap” at Lang river. However, Apai Dendang’s house was strongly defended by the bravest Skrang warriors, re-enforced by Aji and Linggir “Mali Lebu” of the Saribas and the attack was aborted.
Subsequently, in August 1854 the Rajah and his nephew led a punitive expedition against Libau “Rentap” at Sungai Lang in the Skrang. After some fighting, Libau “Rentap” was wounded and was carried away to the top of Sadok Mountain, situated between the headwaters of Penabun, Manjuau, Spak and the Layar Rivers of the Saribas and Skrang regions.
On the summit of the Sadok, Libau “Rentap” and his Skrang followers built a stockade which they defended till their final defeat on 28 October 1861.
In 1857 Libau “Rentap” was attacked for the first time at Sadok by the Rajah’s forces under the Tuan Muda. During the fighting Abang Aing, a senior Native Officer of the Skrang fort was wounded, and as a result the government force retreated unconditionally.
Rajah Brooke defeated by Kheh Chinese at Kuching
On 20 February 1857, there was a surprising news that the Brooke government at Kuching had been defeated by Kheh Chinese who worked at gold mines at Bau, Buso and Siniawan in the upper Sarawak river. Tuan Muda Charles Brooke from from the fort at Nanga Skrang had requested all Ibans from Lingga, Skrang and Saribas to help defeating the Chinese and to retake control of Kuching. So, OK Janting with his followers from Lingga came over to help. OK Gasing with leaders from lower Skrang also came. From Saribas, Linggir, Abang Apong wiyj theri followers all came from Paku as well as Nanang, Luyoh enggau Aji and their followers from Padeh.
Although, Linggir had submitted to the Rajah since 1849, between 1854 and 1858, the Balau Ibans still attacked the Saribas Ibans. They massacared those Saribas Ibans while fishing at Tanjong Kauk in 1854. Later, they also attacked the Saribas Ibans travelling to Kuching in 1858. These incidents caused bitterness among Saribas Ibans especailly Aji, the son of OKP Dana “Bayang”. That was why he returned to fight against the Rajah and attacked Fort Lily which was just completed at Betong on 14 July 1858. In addition, he wanted to revenge for those lives lost at Tanjong Kauk killed by the Balau Ibans. He also led small expeditions to Banting and built a stockade at Nanga Spak, a Layar tributary where he finally died while fighting the Rajah force at Langit river in the same year.
In April 1857, the Tuan Muda with the Balau Iban from the lower Batang Lupar attacked Aji and OKP Nanang in the Padeh. After a very short fight, both OKP Nanang’s and Aji’s longhouses were burnt by the Balau Dayaks.
While he was at Betong after this expedition, the Tuan Muda Charles Brooke managed to persuade the lower Saribas chief Bunyau and his brother Maoh of Rantau Anak along with their Malay neighbour, Datu Patinggi Udin of Betong to submit to the Brooke regime after the Tuan Muda assured them a fort fully equipped with cannons would be built at Betong to be under their combined charge.
After this, the Tuan Muda also assured them if they went to “Sarawak proper” (Kuching) by boat, they need not be afraid anymore, as they were now the friends of the government and had no enemy to harm them as before. The Tuan Muda then commanded Bakir, the son of Bunyau, Malina “Panggau”, the son of Maoh and Abang Kadir, the son of Datu Patinggi Udin to collect enough materials for the building of a fort at Munggu Senggang, Betong and on behalf of the Sarawak government, the Tuan Muda promised to supply them with nails and carpenters.
Finally, before his departure back to the Skrang fort, the Tuan Muda instructed Bunyau and Maoh to visit Linggir “Mali Lebu” in order to persuade him to submit to the Brooke Raj with them. He asked them to inform Linggir that the Balau and Sebuyau Iban had become loyal to the Brooke government, and therefore he should not be hostile to these people anymore.
“If Linggir were to declare war against the Balau and Sebuyau Iban as he did in the past,” said the Tuan Muda, “the government of my uncle will surely aid the latter with guns which he cannot defeat.” At the same time, he instructed Datu Patinggi Udin to visit the Laksamana Amir and his eldest son Abang Apong of the Paku for the same reason.
At this time Aji, the chief of the upper Saribas, was busy visiting warriors and warleaders including Libau “Rentap” of the Skrang at Sadok to urge all to fight against the Sarawak Brooke government which had extended its power over the people of the lower Saribas River, as it had done over the people of the lower Skrang after Linggir’s defeat at Beting Maru in 1849.
It was in these intervening years that Aji continually raided the people along the coast between Sadong and the mouth of the Saribas River with a small number of warriors. On many of his raids, due to his hatred of Linggir who had submitted to Brooke rule without first consulting him, he shouted falsely to the enemy that the warriors who had raided them belonged to Linggir of the Paku.
In the midst of these troubled days, Aji was assisted by Lintong “Moahari” of the Kanowit in carrying out a raid on the Malay village at Buling under Laksamana Amir and his son Abang Apong of the Paku but was twarted by the intervention of Linggir who was friendly Laksamana Amir.
Due to this incident, Bakir went with a well known warrior named Ijau Umbol of Bukit Bungai to report Aji’s hostile act towards the peaceful people of the lower Saribas to the Tuan Muda at Skrang fort.
Hearing this, and with it the ceaseless reports about Linggir’s regular raids on the peaceful coastal people, as falsely spread by Aji, the Tuan Muda sent out his Balau sea scouts to attack any Saribas Iban who appeared in the sea without carrying a letter issued at the Betong fort. These Balau sea scouts were ordered to wait secretly at various spots along the coasts between Maludam beach and the mouth of the Batang Lupar for the Saribas Iban to come out from their own river.
At this time Aji, chief of the Padeh and Layar Iban, and his warriors were in the habit of attacking the Balau Iban with kayau anak (small wars) at the mouth of the Batang Lupar and along the Lingga tributary.
One day during this time of unrest in the Saribas, Orang Kaya Janting of Banting came with a Balau force came to Saribas to take revenge on Aji who had killed a number of innocent Balau farmers at and around the Maludam stream, and other people who lived between the Batang Lupar and the Saribas Rivers with the Rajah James Brooke’s blessings as Aji had not yet submitted himself to his rule. When he and his warriors came to the Padeh they stopped and stayed below Aji’s landing place.
When Aji heard that the Balaus had come to attack his house, he ordered his warriors to collect as much wood as they could for rafts and also trees with thick leaves. This wood was thrown into the Padeh River that evening, so that it drifted downstream towards the enemy’s boats. At sunset, Aji led his warriors to attack the enemy who had camped below their landing place. During the fighting they speared the enemy from the floating logs on which they stood. When the enemy rushed forward, Aji and his fighters hid themselves behind the upright leaves of the trees which made it very difficult for the enemy to aim their spears at them.
The Balau, defending themselves, could not harm the enemy, as they were blocked by the thick mass of trees which drifted down the river to their boats. During the fighting a considerable number of Balaus were killed or wounded, but their heads could not be taken away by the Padeh Iban because of the same difficulty, the obstructing logs.
Early next morning the Balau force went ashore to raid Aji’s house. Seeing them, Aji and his warriors, who had prepared to defend themselves, attacked the enemy from all sides of the road. During the fighting more Balaus were killed which made Orang Kaya Janting to retreat, stop the raid and return to Lingga.
Shortly after this trouble was over in 1858, a young man named Kedit of the Paku accompanied by five friends went to Sarawak proper (Kuching) with Linggir’s approval to visit the Rajah. This was the first visit of this kind to take place following the submission of the Paku Iban to Brooke Rule. Eventually when Kedit and his party came to Sampun near the mouth of Sadong River, they were attacked by Balau sea scouts with shot-guns. This bad news reached Paku so that Linggir, Majang and Belawan along with others followed suit but when they reached Maludam beach, they were also attacked by the Balau seascouts.
After this incident at Meludam, Linggir was instructed by Tuan Muda from Skrang with Bunyau Apai Bakir from Entanak to defeat Jaloh Ibans at upper Layar becasue the Brooke government suspected them to supply salt to Libau “Rentap” at Sadok Mount.
Disunity among the Layar under Bunyau Apai Bakir and Padeh Iban under Aji.
When the fort was built at Betong under the joint supervision of Mr. J.B. Craickshank and Bunyau apai Bakir in 1858, Aji, the third son of the late OKP Dana “Bayang”, fought against all who had submitted to Brooke rale in the lower Layar River.
At the completion of the fort, Aji and his warriors from the Padeh and Ulu Layar attacked it with a few exchanges of fire, showing their complete disagreement with the people of the lower Layar under chief Bunyau Apai Bakir. At this time, Linggir “Mali Lebu” and all the people of Paku were completely neutral, as they had relatives in both of the quarelling groups.
Due to Aji’s action, the Tuan Muda led a force from the Skrang fort, composed of the best Skrang and Balau fighters, to punish Aji and his supporters. When the Tuan Muda arrived at Betong he was joined by the Iban and Malays of Betong under Mr. Watson, the Officer-in-Charge, including Bakir, Malina and the other fortmen.
The expedition was very well planned. At the request of Bunyau and Maoh, no other warboats went up the Layar ahead of those owned by the Saribas Iban. This was in order to save the lives of the ordinary people who were living beyond Nanga Padeh.
However, when the force reached a big dry gravel bed at the mouth of the Sungai Langit, Aji suddenly appeared and came forward to attack the government force assembled in the river. Seeing him crossing the shallow rapids fully armed, a Malay man from Spaoh named Bruang shot him with his gun.
After Aji, the arch enemy of Brooke rule, had died, the Tuan Muda ordered his forces to stay one night at the mouth of Sungai Langit. Next day the forces divided into two columns. One column was sent to the Julau to punish Mujah “Buah Raya”, while another, led by the Tuan Muda, attacked Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. This later engagement was known as the Second Sadok expedition.
Before the force had left, no Saribas Iban dared to behead Aji for fear of becoming the deadly enemy of his brothers and their followers. So it was decided that the Skrang should do it, as they lived safely near Fort James at the mouth of Skrang River. The latter agreed and so took Aji’s head back with them to the Skrang when the expedition was over.
In anger over the death of his brother Aji, Luyoh went to Mukah to negotiate with Sharif Masahor who was also planning to rebel against the Brookes. The Sharif assured him that he would supply gunpowders for those who rebels against the government of Sarawak. Having been assured of this, Luyoh and his brother OKP Nanang built a stockade at the mouth of the Spak tributary so that they could avenge their brother’s death against the Brookes and Bunyau apai Bakir. This stockade was attacked by Mr. Watson and Bakir in 1859.
Within a month of his defeat, OKP Nanang rebuilt the stockade, but it was attacked again by Mr. Watson, Bakir, and Abang Aing. Very shortly after its reconstruction, the doomed fortress was completely demolished.
Orang Kaya Nanang & Luyoh joined Libau “Rentap” on Mount Sadok.
After these defeats, OKP Nanang and Luyoh joined Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. They brought to the mountain a gun known as “Bujang Timpang Berang” which their father had captured at Sambas many decades earlier. This famous gun can be seen today at Fort Lily, Betong, Saribas.
From their stockade at Sadok, OKP Nanang and Luyoh and their followers together with Libau “Rentap” fighters supported Sharif Masahor’s rebellion. They openly joined the latter in his defence at Mukah and Igan until his defeat in 1861.
Two months after the deportation of Sharif Masahor to Singapore in 1861, the Tuan Besar, James Brooke-Brooke, and his brother the Tuan Muda, Charles Brooke, led a big expedition against OKP Nanang and Libau “Rentap” at Sadok. On this expedition, taught by past experience, the Tuan Besar took with him a big gun known as “Bujang Sadok”, to storm Libau “Rentap” stronghold. This gun is today exhibited in the Sarawak Museum in Kuching.
The force went up the Layar River to Nanga Tiga. From there, it went up the Tiput, crossed the Spak and went on to the foot of Sadok Mountain. While assembling there, the Tuan Besar and the Tuan Muda informed all the Iban chiefs of the lower Saribas and Skrang that the government had no intention of continuing its quarrel with OKP Nanang and Luyoh, provided that they agreed to surrender themselves as soon as possible. This proclamation pleased the divided Saribas Iban.
They agreed to send the most trustworthy messengers to OKP Nanang and his brothers on the mountain to urge them to surrender to the government. All the Iban leaders agreed to send the Bangat chiefs under the leadership of Jabu apai Umpang and his brother Ngadan apai Rembi to meet OKP Nanang and Luyoh in their stronghold.
These chiefs went as arranged. When they told OKP Nanang and his brothers about the Brooke’s offer, they said that they would surrender if this was not just a trick to execute them. After OKP Nanang and all his warriors had given the Brooke’s request very careful consideration, they went with nine of their warriors to meet the Rajah’s nephew to confer on the conditions of their surrender.
When they met the Brookes, they were asked to pledge 400 rusa jars valued at about $3,200 as proof of their good behaviour. If they did not cause any trouble within the next three years, their deposit would be refunded to them at the expiration of the agreement.
OKP Nanang and Luyoh fully agreed with the imposition of the fine and therefore, on their behalf, their loyal old warrior, Uyu apai Ikum of the Ulu Julau, paid the fine in the presence of all the important persons taking part in the expedition on 25th September, 1861. After the fine had been paid, OKP Nanang and his followers were given two days to move away from the Sadok stronghold to allow for an attack against Libau “Rentap”.
While OKP Nanang and his followers were moving their belongings and their women and children to a place of safety, some of the Skrang and Saribas Iban leaders asked the Brookes whether Libau “Rentap” could also be pardoned and asked to surrender un¬conditionally. The Tuan Besar and his brother said that the government could not grant Libau “Rentap” such a favour as he was guilty of killing Mr. Allan Lee at Skrang several years before. For that reason, Libau “Rentap” sworn never to see or make peace with any white ruler for as long as he lives.
Before OKP Nanang and Luyoh surrendered to the government, there had been a hot quarrel between them and Libau “Rentap”, who had refused to hand back to Aji’s widow, Dimah, the gun powder her husband had asked him to keep safely in his stronghold shortly before Aji died at Sungai Langit. It was partly due to this that Aji’s brothers no longer remained allied with Libau “Rentap” but surrendered themselves to the government without first consulting him.
Knowing that OKP Nanang and his followers had betrayed him, Libau “Rentap” ordered that their stockade be razed. While Libau “Rentap” men were doing this, the flames could be seen for many hours by people who lived far away from the mountain.
After OKP Nanang and his followers had moved away to a safe place, the Tuan Muda ordered about sixty of his people to carry up the mountain the big gun, Bujang Sadok, to crush Libau “Rentap” stronghold. As soon as the preparations had been completed, an exchange of fire began. After several shots, the stockade was completely destroyed and his gunner Rajau was killed. Rajau’s blood soaked the gunpowder and ammunition, so that Libau “Rentap” and his warriors had to flee quickly to the Skrang where they camped safely near Bukit Lanja.
Shortly after Libau “Rentap” and his warriors had fled from Sadok, one of his men named Manang Usay walked forward with sword in hand, “to look for the Rajah,” as he put it. Seeing him looking for the Tuan Muda with such a weapon, those who stood nearby warned the Tuan Muda to be careful, in case Manang Usay should attempt to strike him with the sword. As he approached the Tuan Muda, Manang Usay’s foot caught in the root of an engkajang tree, so he fell down. As he was lying on the ground, the Tuan Muda struck him with his knife, but missed. Then the Tuan Muda drew his sword (pedang saliri) and pierced Manang Usay through the stomach, killing him instantly.
After Libau “Rentap” stronghold had been destroyed the Tuan Muda said:
“I bade farewell to the remains of Rentap’s house, which was now reduced to embers, only a few of which were smoking; fire had soon consumed the seat of this little episode in Sarawak history, We spiked an iron gun with steel, which had belonged to Nanang and was marked with an anchor dated 1515 with some letters on it not legible; they said his father had captured this gun from the Dutch at Sambas many years ago while on a marauding excursion.”
Before the force actually left Sadok, the Tuan Besar told a gathering of chiefs from the lower Layar, Paku and Skrang that the government had overthrown Libau “Rentap” power for the good of the country.
“At the same time”, he said, “The government has halted its quarrel with OKP Nanang to give way to the rule of law and order.”
The Tuan Besar made it known to all the chiefs that OKP Nanang had no enemy unless the Rajah had an enemy, and that OKP Nanang must not go to war unless his services were required by the government. Finally the Tuan Besar encouraged all the people to concentrate more on agriculture than on fighting one another, “If all Ihe people farm conscientiously,” he said, “the people and the government of the country will be able to engage in peaceful trade.”
The Tuan Besar ruled that OKP Nanang was to return to Buloh Antu; Luyoh to Sungai Langit; Unting to Gerinjing, Padeh; Tiong and Landau and their warrior husbands to Stambak; Badong and her husband Belabut to his house at Seruai, and the warriors Angkau, Mara and Saban to Serian below the Betong fort.
The Great Kayan Expedition of 1863.
Early in 1863, the Tuan Muda, who was posted at Skrang, visited Betong fort. On his arrival, he directed the Assistant Resident, Mr. Watson, to call ail the leading chiefs, Bakir, OKP Nanang of the Padeh and Linggir of the Paku to come to meet him at the fort. When they came the Tuan Muda directed them to build warboats for a punitive expedition against the Kayans and Kejamans of the upper Rajang. The latter, had given refuge to Sawing, Tani and Skalai the murderers of the Government Officers Messrs. Fox and Steele at the Kanowit fort. Sibu was to be their point of assembly and the date for all to arrive at Sibu was fixed during this meeting.
Conference at Fort James, Skrang.
After the Kayan expedition was over, the Tuan Muda assembled all the leading chiefs of the Second Division in 1863 at Fort James in the Skrang. At this meeting he thanked them for their service during the Kayan expedition, The Tuan Muda also stressed that, due to OKP Nanang’s good conduct after his submission at Sadok in 1861 and during the Kayan expedition, the time had come for the government to return to him the security deposit of 400 jars, according to the formal agreement made at Sadok on 25th September, 1861.
Soon after this historic conference was over, Fort James was moved to a better and hillier place at Simanggang, about seven miles below the Skrang junction. After the arrival of Ranee Margaret in Sarawak in 1870, this fort was officially named Alice after one of her names, and the fort at Betong, which was built in 1858, was given another of her names, Lily.
Iban unrest in the Katibas Rivers.
Due to the intra-tribal fighting between Ulu Ai Ibans and Kumpang Ibans, from Nanga Lubang Raya near the source of the Batang Ai, Naga and his brothers Sumping, Maoh, Api and Murap migrated to the Kanyau in Indonesian Borneo.
Before they left the country they invited Temenggong Simpi Pala of Rantau Panjai to come with them. But the Temenggong refused as he was reluctant to leave behind his guardian spirit who lived at Bukit Kaong.
On their arrival in the Kanyau, Naga and his followers lived at Emperan Kawat and subsequently at Kerangan Labu. Here they were still raided by lower Batang Ai Iban from Kumpang. Due to this trouble Naga led his followers to the headwaters of the Katibas on the Sarawak side of the border.
In this new country they first settled at Jekelan and then later moved to Emperan where they were attacked by joint forces of Kantu and Embaloh Dayaks. These enemies came from the Kanyau and Ketunggau tributaries of the Kapuas River. To escape this danger they moved to Batu Gong, and then settled at Tekalit. While Naga was still living in the Katibas he transferred his chieftainship to his sons Unggat and Gerinang.
In 1868 when Mr. J.B. Cruickshank was serving as Resident in the Rejang, Unggat and Gerinang came to see him at Nanga Ngemah. When the Resident asked them of the general affairs of the Katibas, Unggat replied that all was tranquil with the exception of a senior warrior chief named Balang who had returned victoriously from the warpath against a tribe called the Lusum. Unggat told Mr. Craickshank that Balang and Ringgau had come to him and his brother Gerinang twice to invite them to join them to murder the Resident. He told Mr. Craickshank that Balang was to hold a feast (Gawai Gerasi Papa) next day in honour of his recent victory over the Lusum. Mr. Craickshank, upset by the news, told Unggat and Gerinang that he personally would attend Balang’s festival next day.
Early next day Mr. Cruickshank went to Balang’s longhouse. When he reached the longhouse landing place, he called for Balang to come down to fetch him up to the house. Balang was surprised by the arrival of the Resident whom he had not invited to the feast, but he reluctantly agreed to fetch him to his house.
When Balang greeted him at his boat, Mr. Cruickshank ordered that he should be arrested, chained and brought down immediately to Sibu for detention. Later in the month it was said that Balang had been executed at Pulau Selalau near Sibu because of his reported plot to murder the Resident.
In retaliation, Balang’s son-in-law, his uncle Enjop and the latter’s son publicly declared that they would fight against the rule of the Rajah of Sarawak in the Katibas River. The reason they gave was Balang’s execution without trial, by a court of justice.
Before the revolt began, the relatives of Balang already knew that Balang’s execution was due to Unggat’s jealousy and the false story he had told the Resident about Balang’s intention to murder him. So Enjop and his relatives went to Unggat’s house, to force him and Gerinang to join their rebellion against the Rajah.
Hearing this, Unggat said that the reason why Balang was executed was because he had raided the Lusum in the upper Rajang. They replied to Unggat that Balang would not have been sentenced to death for this, for the Lusum were enemies of the Katibas, and had not submitted to Brooke rule. Besides this, they said that the government should not sentence Balang to death without a trial.
Gerinang asked Enjop and his relatives to give him and Unggat time to discuss among themselves whether they agreed to join them in rebelling against the govern¬ment. He said that to fight against the government was dangerous and required very careful consideration. Enjop and Balang’s son-in-law said that they already had asked the people of Kanowit and Julau to support their rebellion.
Later Unggat and Gerinang told Enjop and his relatives that they could not reinforce them since, as they put it, they could not seek victory against the warleaders of the Saribas and Skrang Iban who were their relatives, and were now siding with the government.
Due to the joining of Unggat and Gerinang with Enjop and Balang’s relatives in their enmity against the Rajah, fighting suddenly broke out in the Katibas in 1868.
Linggir Mantu Minggat Apai Runai Ngalah ka Katibas:
In 1868, Minggat Apai Runai from Krian instructed by Raja Muda Charles Brooke to attack those Ibans fleeing from Ulu Kabo and built a stockade at Dungan Hill between upper Ensiring and upper Katibas joining Ketibas Iabns led by Janting and Ranggau who still foght the Rajah. During this war, Minggat force got 81 heads and 4 captives.
After their defeat, Janting and Ranggau built a stockade at Dungan Hill again. Hearing this in June 1870, Raja Muda Charles Brooke instructed Minggat “Apai Runai” to attack Katibas again. Raja Muda also instructed Linggir “Mali Lebu” from Paku and Entering Apai Nawai from Julau to join Minggat this time. Their leading warriors were Munan, the son of Minggat himself, Luna “Panggau” from Sebelak, Garran “Lembang Batu”, Juing enggau Ajan “Sanggol Langit” from Paku, Chulo “Tarang”, Adu apai Jingan and Telajan from Krian.
In this expedition,they did not fight any enemy who had fled earlier before they reached the stockade. They stayed at the stockade for the night. Linggir himself was very old at this time and after this, he did not lead his followers to wars anymore.
While Naga and his people lived at Batu Gong they were twice attacked by the Rajah’s force during the first and second Katibas expeditions against Enjop, the brother of Balang, in 1869 and 1870.
In his wrath against the government for executing Balang unjustly, Lintong ‘Moahari” of Kanowit attacked the Sibu fort in 1870, the year of the second and third expeditions launched by the Brooke government against the Katibas Iban.
During the first Katibas expedition, Manggi’s bong tekam boat defeated the Rajah’s boat; thereby causing the latter’s troops to retreat unconditionally. But during the second expedition this same boat of Manggi’s was driven back and Manggi and many of his warriors were killed.
Enjop and his followers were reinforced by Iban from Julau, Kanowit and Kanyau in Indonesian Borneo. This trouble continued until 1871 and involved three successive punitive expeditions.
After Manggi’s death, Naga ordered a warrior of his, named Ridun to lead a migration into the Baleh River. Ridun and his followers settled temporarily at the mouth of the Selidong stream near the mouth of the Baleh. There they met with a lot of trouble. They were attacked by the Logats and Ukit tribes. To avoid this Ridun moved to Resa in the Yong stream, where he died of old age. Around the same time Naga died in the Katibas.
Due to the revolt of the Katibas Iban, the upper Batang Ai Iban under chief Ngumbang, while reinforcing their relatives, were attacked by the Rajah in 1868. These troubles were the first signs of what became continuing unrest in the headwaters of the Batang Ai and the Batang Rajang which was to last until 1919.
Labar succeeded Ridun as leader in the Yong. From Yong, Labar led a migration to the Baleh and lived at the mouth of Kemali stream just above Lepong Kain, While Labar and his people were settled there, they were frequently attacked by the Lugats, who lived along the Gaat tributary. Labar died at the Nanga Kemali settlement, and the Baleh Iban no longer had an influential leader, as Unggat and Gerinang lived far away in the Katibas.
Due to this, the Baleh Iban sent for Mujah “Buah Raya” of the Julau and Entabai to lead them against the Lugats at Nanga Gaat. Mujah “Buah Raya”, with two hundred warriors went to attack over one thousand of the enemy. The latter defended themselves bravely, but their wooden shields were broken by the stones thrown by Mujah’s warriors, and they were defeated.
After their defeat the Lugat fled to the upper Baleh and lived at the Nanga Laii, Nanga Sengkala and Nanga Singut settlements. From these longhouses they fled once more, escaping further Iban raids, to the Mahakam River in Indonesian Borneo. In this new country they are said to have settled at a place called Bila Baii.
In the Katibas, after Unggat and Gerinang had died, they were succeeded as chiefs by their sons Keling and Mata Hari, who led a great number of Iban to the Sut, Gaat and Mujong tributaries of the Baleh. The people of these Rivers still regard the descendants of Naga and Sumping as being of their original line of chiefs, for their ancestors led the migrations from the Batang Ai to the Kanyau, Katibas and finally to the Baleh River where these Iban live today. Naga and Sumping were the descendents of Seremat Chiefs named Bau and Salengka who were also directly related to Saribas, Batang Ai, Dau and Balau Ibans.
From Pulau Ensulit in Indonesia, Jubang moved up the Piang River and settled temporarily at Emperan Tebelian. From this settlement, he and his people migrated into the Katibas in Sarawak territory via Sungai Ayat in order to settle at the Bangkit stream. From the Bangkit, Jubang and his people moved down the main Katibas River to the Rajang and then up that river to settle in the Sut, a tributary of the Baleh.
While he was living in the Sut, Jubang joined Gerinang’s war against the Pieng Dayaks in the Mahakam River in Indonesian territory, and there he was killed. At the time of his father’s death, Koh lived at Nanga Dia where he was appointed Penghulu by the Raj all because he had obeyed the government wishes in not taking revenge upon the Julau Iban who had killed his cousin named Lanau during the fighting at Bukit Balong.
After he had attacked the Piengs, Gerinang led another war against the Lusum Dayaks at Keluan and defeated them. As a result of this the Lusum Dayak fled to settle in the Baram. In their place at Keluan, the Badang Dayak have lived there to the present day. Gerinang was imprisoned by the Rajah for this attack on the Lusum, but later he was appointed Penghulu, succeeding his deceased grandfather Penghulu Keling.
In Jubang’s company from the Katibas there was a Nanga Delok man named Melintang. When he arrived in the Baleh he was permitted by the chiefs of that river to live with his followers in the Merirai tributary. He was appointed the first Penghulu of that river in 1942 but died shortly after his appointment. After his death he was succeeded by his grandson the late Tun Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Temenggong Jugah, the former Federal Minister for Sarawak Affairs after Sarawak was given independence within the Malaysian Federation in 1963.
Jubang, the father of Temenggong Koh, left Lubang Baya in the Batang Ai to migrate to the Kanyau River where he lived at Pulau Ensulit. It was at this settlement that he married Garong, the daughter of chief Ba, and their child was Temenggong Koh, the well known Iban chieftain of modern Sarawak, who died in 1955.
Kedu “Lang Ngindang”
Kedu “Lang Ngindang”, a Skrang chief who lived at Nanga Bimu, opened a feud with the Kantu’ people of Merakai by attacking them with a large force. Due to this Mr. Maxwell, then the Resident at Simanggang, with the help of OKP Nanang of Padeh, Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang” of the Kalaka and Jebu and Utik of the Bangat, Skrang, attacked Kedu “Lang Ngindang” at Nanga Bunu in 1879.
During the fighting OKP Nanang’s brother Unting and their nephews Senabong and Timban, the sons of the deceased Aji displayed notable bravery, because they wished to avenge their father’s death in 1858; Aji’s head was at that time still in the hands of a Skrang Iban.
After he had been defeated at Nanga Bunu, Kedu “Lang Ngindang” and his leading warriors, Uching “Kesulai Tandang”, Aming “Ijau Kemelang” and many others, including Sigat of Tanjong, Basek “Tengkujoh Darah” of Nanga Tanyit, Dunggau of Nariga Murat, and Busut of Enteban, fled to fortify themselves on the summit of Stulak hill.
After the Rajah had defeated them there in 1881, Kedu “Lang Ngindang” and his warriors surrendered to the government forces. Some returned to the Skrang while many others migrated with Kedu “Lang Ngindang” to the Kanowit, after he had been asked to deposit 10 valuable jars as security for his good behaviour.
Kedu “Lang Ngindang” refused to go back again to the Skrang as he did not want to see the faces of some of the Tuans (European Officers) in Fort Alice at Simanggang as he made peace. He decided to make peace at Sibu instead.
From Stulak hill Kedu “Lang Ngindang” moved again to live with his followers at the mouths of the rivers Tebalong and Kesit in Entabai. Years afterwards all of them dispersed again, and Kedu “Lang Ngindang” moved downriver and lived till his death of old age at Bawang Assan. His grandson Gani lived at Bawang Assan till he died in 1959.
The rest of his followers mingled with other Skrang and Saribas Iban who had migrated to the Julau and Entabai Rivers before and after the Sadok defeat in 1861. Before these migrations, the Julau and the Kanowit were already peopled by Skrang, Lemanak and Saribas Iban under the leadership of well-known chiefs like Mujah “Buah Raya” who had fought against the Tuan Muda, Charles Brooke in 1858; and Lintong “Moahari”, who had reinforced Aji in his attack on Betong Fort and finally joined him in attacking the Government forces on their way to Sadok later that year.
Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu”
In the last quarter of the 19th century Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” anak Chabu of the Paku, (son of Saribas Jack) who had succeeded his uncle, Linggir “Mali Lebu” who died in 1875, as chief in the Paku River, took his followers on a small expedition to attack Iban trouble makers at Sut, Baleh.
When they came down to Sibu they were halted by the government who accused Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” of leading a war party without the approval of the government. All their captives were confiscated by the government.
Once they were home, dissatisfied at this government intervention in his war against the Iban of the Sut, Penghulu Garran “Lembang Batu” and his followers went overland to Kanowit to call for the chiefs Ubong and Lintong “Moahari” to join him in attacking the hostile Iban of Ibau below what is now Kapit town. During this raid Penghulu Garran’s warriors killed and captured a number of the enemy, among whom was a man named Sumai, captured by Mula of Penom.
During the Rajah’s expedition against Bukit Batu at Ulu Mujong in the Baleh, the Second Rajah invited only Chulo “Tarang” and his warriors, together with Penghulu Minggat and his warriors, to become leaders on the warpath. Before the fighting began the Rajah asked Chulo “Tarang” and Penghulu Minggat to persuade chief Janting of Kanowit to surrender. Thus Chulo “Tarang” and Penghulu Minggat, with their warrior sons, brothers and sons-in-law, went to meet Janting.
When they reached the foot of the Bukit Batu, they found that the enemy had already laid an ambush for the Rajah’s fighting men. Of these, Janting was one of the leading enemy warriors. Shortly after they came to the foot of the mountain they were attacked by the enemy.
During the alarm (begau), Kandau and Ngindang “Mumpang Pali”, sons-in-law of Chulo “Tarang” were wounded by enemy’s spears. The former received a wound in his stomach while the latter on his arm. Only Unggit killed an enemy during the lightning fight. Some of Penghulu Minggat’s warriors were wounded but none were killed. In order to stop the enemy from advancing the fortmen shot at them with guns and killed some of them.
The Kalaka under Penghulu Minggat and Chulo “Tarang”.
In June, 1843, after the Saribas Iban of the Padeh and Paku had been defeated by James Brooke and Captain Henry Keppel, Rimbas was similarly attacked and taken. Due to this many people from the Rimbas migrated to the Krian via the Melupa. Here they settled along the river up to the Babang tributary.
When the Iban of the lower Batang Lupar, Saribas and Krian were beginning to enjoy peace after the defeat of Kedu “Lang Ngindang” at Mount Stulak and that of Janting “Lang Labang” at Bukit Batu on the headwaters of Mujong, the Rajah decreed that all Iban who had settled along the Baleh and in its tributaries were to return and live under the control of the govern¬ment in the main Rajang below Kapit.
This intervention in Iban affairs was protested by a senior Iban leader of the Ulu Ai named Penghulu Ngumbang “Brauh Langit” of Mepi, who had fought against the government along the Kedang range in 1886. The Emperan, Katibas and the Rajang Iban assisted him, as did the warriors of Penghulu Bantin “Ijau Lelayang” of the Ulu Ai.
The Rajah’s followers were led by OKP Nanang of the Padeh, Penghulu Minggat of Awik and Jabu of Bangat, Skrang. Two years after his defeat at Kedang in 1888, Penghulu Ngumbang, Penghulu Bantin, together with Imba and Allam, agreed to attend the peace-making ceremony to be held at both the Lubok Antu and Kapit forts.
Despite of the agreement to live in peace sworn at this peace-making, the Iban of Yong and Cheremin in the upper Rajang again grew restless and in 1894 openly revolted against the government. The Rajah led an expedition against them in person. He appointed the aged OKP Nanang of Padeh, Saribas, to lead the fighting. This was the last war that OKP Nanang took part in before his death in Padeh in 1901.
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 would not reserve Penghulu Minggat’s Pulau Papan , Pulau Baan, Pulau Rutan and Pulau Danan (Reserved Forest Islands) 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 rattans 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 move and 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.
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 forest areas, 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 in 1914. 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.
Quarrel betwen Penghulu Bantin and Mr. Bailey
After peace was restored, Penghulu Bantin went from the Kapuas to Ulu Ai to buy jars. On his way home with a rusa-type jar he stayed one night in an Iban longhouse on the lower Batang Ai. Several days after he left the house, a man who lived there found a rusa jar missing. He reported the loss to Mr. Bailey, Resident of the Second Division in Simanggang.
In his wrath against the Ulu Ai rebel chief, Mr. Bailey summoned Penghulu Bantin and accused him of having stolen the lost jar. Penghulu Bantin denied the charge, and therefore a bitter quarrel arose between Penghulu Bantin and the Resident.
Mr. Bailey demanded that Penghulu Bantin should pay the necessary jar tax. Penghulu Bantin refused to pay, since he had bought the jar with his own money. In this disagreement, Mr. Bailey lost his temper with Penghulu Bantin, who returned to the Ulu Ai and started to collect followers to rebel against the Sarawak Government.
The Rajah, being misinformed by Mr. Bailey about the quarrel, led a punitive expedition against Penghulu Bantin from 1897 to 1904 which ended with the battle at Entimau hill in the upper Katibas.
In 1902 Penghulu Bantin of the Ulu Ai and the people under Penghulu Munau apai Laja and his son Kana of Engkari rebelled against the government. To disrupt the peace, Bantin and Kana and their fighters attacked people at several places, particularly their neighbours, the people of Lemanak.
Consequently, the Rajah commanded Munan, the Penghulu Dalam of Sibu, Penghulu Insol of the Padeh, Saribas, and Penghulu Banta of the Skrang to attack the rebels at Engkari. Banta’s and Insol’s forces went to war according to the date decided upon by the Penghulu Dalam but the latter force arrived several days later from Kanowit due to the long distance and uncertainty of the route taken.
In the course of this first fighting, the forces from Saribas and Skrang were badly beaten by the enemy. Thirteen of their warriors were killed. But in spite of this defeat, Insol took a firm vow to fight the enemy till all his warriors had safely returned to their own ground.
However, Penghulu Munan force proceeded to attack a big house under a headman named Jimbau, which contained many Ulu Ai people who had come to reinforce Jimbau, when the Saribas and Skrang were known to be approaching and was celebrating a festival of Enchaboh Arong in honour of the head trophies they had taken a few days earlier. While the fighting was at its height, Munau apai Laja and his son Kana, carried Munau’s daughter down the ladder from the tanju to escape unhurt.
After the fighting was over, Munan ordered that the house be burnt along with three others in the same vicinity. After the fighting was ended it was found that 53 of the enemy had been killed including the stragglers and 5 captives taken by Munan. Only two of his men were missing.
In the same year, 1904, Bantin’s followers, led by Kana of Engkari and Mantok “Batu Cheling” and the people of the Ulu Kanowit, were defeated by a government force under Munan Penghulu Dalam, at Wong Adai below the Meluan. This encounter was commonly called the Bongkap war since Mantok’s huge war boat was named Bongkap.
In 1906 Penghuiu Ngumbang of the Mepi, Ulu Ai, supported by the Ulu Ai, Emperan, Kanowit, Julau, Katibas and Baleh Iban, renewed fighting against the government in the upper waters until defeated at Bukit Balong.
After these troubles had ended Penghulu Ngumbang and Penghulu Bantin agreed to make peace with the downriver Iban under Munan, and a peace-making ceremony was held at Kapit in 1907. Munan, the Penghulu Dalam at Sibu, and Penghulu Ngumbang of Mepi in the Ulu Ai both died in 1914.
In the following year 1915, the Baleh Iban led by Penghulu Merom rebelled against the government at Bukit Selong, at the source of the Mujong tributary and in the Gaat tributary. While fighting in the Gaat, the government forces were headed by Gani “Sauh Besi”, the grandson of Kedu “Lang Ngindang” of the Skrang, who had settled at Bawang Assan near Sibu. The Gaat trouble ended in 1919 and there followed a peace-making ceremony at Kapit in 1920.
In the intervening year of 1916, the restless Iban of the Ulu Ai were led by one Tabor, a son of Penghulu Ngelingkong of the Mujan, to attack the Kayan of the upper Rajang. To stop this, the government sent a punitive expedition against them, and there was a battle at Nanga Pila, where Tabor was killed by a Constable named Impin “Pintu Batu Nanga Pila” of the Bangat, Skrang.
After the Iban troubles in the upper waters of the Batang Ai and Batang Rajang had stopped, a peace-making was held at Kapit between the Iban and the Kayan of Long Nawang (or Apo Kayan) in 1924. At this ceremony the Iban were represented by Penghulu Koh, Keling, Melintang and other upper Rajang and Baleh Penghulus.
After the ceremony was over, and due to Penghulu Koh’s service in organizing the successful peace-making, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, the third Rajah of Sarawak, promoted him to the rank of Temenggong.
Rebellion By Penghulu Asun “Bah Tunggal”.
In 1929 Penghulu Asun “Bah Tunggal” of the Entabai and many Iban who supported him refused to pay taxes on shot-guns, pasu, gantang and chupak measures and the daching weight. In their arguments they said it was unreasonable for the Iban, who were not traders (orang dagang) to pay these taxes; they said they owed nothing to the government once they had paid the purchase price.
In this trouble Asun was reinforced by Penghulu Kana of Engkari, Kendawang, son of the late Penghulu Janting “Lang Labang” of the Julau, Manang Bakak of the Pakan in Julau, and many young warriors from the Machan, Poi, Ngemah, Kanowit, Julau and the Ulu Batang Ai Rivers.
Ultimately Asun surrendered in 1933 in Simanggang instead of Sibu. After all the ringleaders had surrendered, the Rajah exiled Asun, Kana, Kendawang and Mikai to Lundu, while Manang Bakak was leniently put in jail at Marudi.