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~ siti marinah,nor zuriana & nurul umairah from boamc3c,csc 208 ~


The Kingdom of Brunei
Before the 16 century, the area we now know as Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak centred around the kingdom of Brunei. In this region the kingdom of Brunei was also the centre of trade with China. This region was in tum controlled by two great empires of that period; first by the Sri Vijayan of Sumatra and then by the Majapahit of Java.

However, early in the 15 century, the Malacca empire under Parameswara spread its influence and took over the trade of Brunei. Through its traders, Islam spread to Brunei by the end of the 15 century. Leadership of the Islamic faith passed to the Brunei Sultans after the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511. Under Sultan Bolkiah, the kingdom of Brunei extended its influence as far north as Luzon and Sulu, and south and west of Borneo.Except for the Europeans, other foreigners who have had dealings with Sabah or Borneo left no written records of their activities in the region.

The indigenous peoples of Borneo have no written records except oral history and traditions.The Chinese appeared to have had trade and diplomatic ties with Borneo as early as 600 A.D. The Brunei Annals recorded the existence of a Chinese province in the Kinabatangan area. Archaeological evidence from ceramics unearthed in Borneo revealed that for centuries the Chinese had barter-traded their ceramic wares for spices.

The Coming of the Europeans

1521Pigafetta, chronicler of Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Brunei and was received with
            great pomp and royalty.

1526: The Portuguese under Menezes visited Brunei.

1577: The Spaniards conquered Philipines; also attacked Brunei; the Sultanate of Sulu was
             brought under the Spaniards.

1609 The Dutch set up a trading post in Southem Borneo. 1619 :The Dutch set up a trading
             post in Batavia (Jakarta) in Java.

1658 : Sultan of Sulu given the north east coast of Borneo by the Sultan of Brunei in retum
          for his help in settling a civil war dispute between  the Sultan Abdul Mubin and Pengeran
         Bongsu. Intemal quarrelling in the Brunei Sultanate was one of the factors that led to the
         decline of the empire.

1665 : The first Englishman to visit Borneo - Captain Cowley.


In 1761, Alexander Dalrymple, an officer of the British East India Company at Madras, India concluded an agreement with the Sultan of Sulu which permitted him to set up a trading post in the North Borneo region. He chose Balembangan island, about twenty miles to the north of Kudat town. In 1763, Dalrymple hoisted the British flag on Balembangan and renamed the island 'Felicia'. Another of ficer, John Herbert was sent to build a settlement in Balembangan. The settlement was doomed to failure from the start. Maladministration and piracy brought the trading post to a fiery end in 1775. An attempt was made to revive it in 1803, this time by the Governor-General of India, Lord Arthur Wellesley through his appointed officer, Robert J. Farquhar, Resident at Amboina. This time the attempt was to tum Balembangan into a military station. Again, it was a failure and it was finally abandoned in November 1805.

British attention was then increasingly fumed towards other regions of the Malay Archipelago.


British interest in North Borneo was revived 40 years later in Labuan, an island situated north west of Borneo. In 1844, James Brooke approached the Sultan of Brunei regarding the cession of Labuan island to be used by the British as a coaling base, to act against piracy and to increase trade.

On 18 December 1846, a treaty was signed in which the Sultan ceded in perpetuity Labuan and its islets to the British Crown. Brooke became the first Govemor of Labuan and her Majesty's Consul-General in Borneo. The Deputy Governor was William Napier, Hugh Low the Colonial Secretary and Spencer St. John, Brooke's private secretary. Labuan did not live up to expectations as a mini-Singapore or Penang as the founders had hoped. An enervating climate, a malaria prone region and lack of basic amenities were not conducive for growth. Its chequered history can be seen in its administration which changed hands several times. In 1890, Labuan came to be administered by the British North Borneo Chartered Company, in 1907 it was placed under the government of the Straits Settlements. After the War, Labuan became part of the colony of North Borneo and most recently, Labuan became part of the Federal Territory of Malaysia on 16 April 1984.

The American Trading Company and the British North Borneo Chartered Company

After the disappointment with Labuan, British interest in North Borneo waned until 1881, when a commercial enterprise, the British North Borneo Chartered Company (BNBCC), began administering the country. Their presence was however preceded briefly by American influence and interest.

In 1865, the American Consul of Brunei, Claude Lee Moses obtained a 10-year lease from the Sultan of Brunei on North Borneo. He then sold it to the American Trading Company owned by J.W. Torrey, T.B. Harris and some Chinese merchants. Torrey chose Kimanis, an area south west of North Borneo as his base, and began a settlement there, naming it 'Ellena'. Attempts to find financal backing for the settlement were futile and the settlement was thus abandoned.

With the imminent termination of the territorial lease at hand, Torrey managed to sell his rights to the Austrian Consul in Hong Kong, Baron Von Overbeck. Overbeck managed to get 10-year renewal of the lease from the Tumonggong (Temenggong) of Brunei. To finance his plan for North Borneo, Overbeck found financial backers in the Dent brothers (Alfred and Edward). Later he, together with Count Montgelas of the Austro-Hungarian Embassy in London and A.B. Mitford, a politician transferred their rights to Alfred Dent.

In 1881, Dent fommed the British North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd. On the 1 November, the British Crown officially granted a Royal Charter to the Association. In 1882, the British North Borneo Chartered Company was fommed. It took over all the rights of the Provisional Association. Sir Rutherford Alcock became the first President and Alfred Dent the Managing Director.

In 1888, North Borneo became a British protectorate, that is, British would defend it if it were attacked, making North Borneo a British sphere of influence.

The Company's rule in North Borneo had the greatest impact on the development of the region. A system of indirect rule was established in the administration of North Borneo. The rule was generally peaceful except for small pockets of resistance, the most serious being the Mat Salleh War from 1894-1900 and the Rundum resistance by the Muruts in 1915.

The BNBCC effectively ruled up to 1942, after more than 60 years in Sabah, when the Second World War rudely interrupted on peaceful North Borneo. Japanese forces landed in Labuan on 1 January and occupied Sabah until she was liberated by the Ninth Division Australian Imperial Forces (A.I.F) in 1945. After the Second World War, North Borneo was administered by the British Military Administration until civil govemment was restored on July 15, 1946.

Crown Colony

In 1946, Sabah was placed under the British Crown as the BNBCC could not afford to rebuild Sabah, after the devastation of the War. The destruction of the capital Sandakan by allied bombing was so complete that Jesselton was chosen as the altemative post-war capital - it has remained so to this day. The colonial system of administration after the War was not dissimilar to the Chartered Company era. The rule was generally peaceful. Reconstruction and development of the country were the main focus of the administrators.


The population was generally placid and it was not until the 1960s that political conciousness emerged. The winds of change - the tide of independence being experienced by other countries had arrived in Sabah. It began with an announcement in 1961 by the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, regarding the formation of the Federation of Malaysia which were to include Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore. Malaysia was formally established, without Brunei, on 16 September 1963 and North Borneo's name was changed to Sabah. Preceding this, North Borneo obtained self-govemment from the British on 31 August 1963. However by 1965, Singapore was out of the Federation.

As a state within a Federation many changes occurred, administratively, politically, socially, etc. The pace of development was hastened and Sabah entered a new and challenging era when she became part of the Federation of Malaysia.

Sabah Historical

Pak Musa Background/History
Kg. Bambangan
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One of Beaufort District most colorful historical personality is Pak Musa. According to history, Pak Musa originally from Paitan . After 7 years opposing the British, he surrendered and was ordered to move to another area . He decided to move to the southern interior by going through Kota Kinabalu from Paitan using a British ship. During his search for a place to settle down at the southern interior, Pak Musa stayed at a few places including Papar before settling down at Membakut in a place called Kuala Sungai Angitan. This place today is known Kg Bambangan Membakut, taking its name from a the bambangan tree.

Pak Musa's entourage included his wife, Mualas, Sulaiman, Musit Selair and Absar . Seven years later, he went back to Paitan to bring his other kin to Bambangan . Among those who followed Pak Musa back to Bambangan were Nailih Mandut, Tikon Mandut, Kuloi, Tutung, Majir Panjang, Amboi, Diah, Ower, Atong, Arat Maning and Salleh Tabatu . All of them settled down in Kg Bambangan, even today their descendants still live there. Pak Musa was believed to have an extraordinary power during the time opposing the British and Japanese . A story goes that Pak Musa could jump across a 200 feet wide river at Sungai Kanibungan, Sandakan . Another tale about Pak Musa in Membakut was that he once stopped a moving train. He had a child with a black tongue but the child passed away. Pak Musa was believed to have disappeared and until today no one knows where he is.

Pak Musa’s Hall (Dewan Pak Musa) in Beaufort was named after one of the town most famous resident. The suggestion to the hall was raised up by the late Orang Tua Udin, the village head of Kampung Bambangan and was agreed to by a vote from the committee.

Mat Salleh 


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It has been mentioned often in reports of the Chartered Company that the Mat Salleh Rebellion was the major disturbance in its 60-year administration. It challenged the authority of the British rulers who had come in unannounced, taking charge of a people scattered over 75,000 sq. km (29,000 sq. miles) of land. Indeed it would seem that the North Borneo Company was for many years quietly implementing all that was good for the people when all of a sudden this rebel, Mat Salleh, went on a rampage and upset the peace and order of the land.

Sadly, records available on the causes of the rebellion were written mostly by the administrators of the time. Mat Salleh's side of the story were downgraded and efforts to analyse his behaviour had been few.

What we have now are records written by the people Mat Salleh fought against. For many years school children of Sabah had been taught to deplore Mat Salleh as a trouble maker.'

When nationalistic feelings in the Sabahan were aroused after Independence, emotions ran high, discrediting all that had been said about the "rebel". The Sabahan was called upon to revere this personality. Mat Salleh was no longer looked upon as a rebel but a hero. Revolutionary or freedom fighter, precious little evidence can be studied of Mat Salleh's thoughts, his fears and his reasons for killing and plundering in defiance of the British administration.

What is clear is that Mat Salleh was no ordinary man. He fought, he killed, and he was killed in the end.

During the first few years of Chartered Company rule Sabah was governed by keen and capable men. Men like W.H. Treacher and W. Pryer, M. Crocker, A.E. Davies and C.V. Creagh opened up the country and dealt with local administration anned only with dedication and zeal. Following the state's progress with equal earnestness were men like Alfred Dent and Sir Rutherford Alcock from the London Court of Directors.

In 1893 Sabah's financial position weakened. This resulted from overspending by the early administrators when the Company policy of stringent spending had not been enforced. Added to this was the general poor world economy.

In the following year W.C. Cowie, a Scottish adventurer, (who, prior to this was involved in gun-running activities for the Sulu authorities) was elected to the Court of Directors in London as the managing director. He decided to do away with the idea of just running an administration that was not going to yield any profits. In London a group of shareholders rallied behind him in -his ambition for dividends.

Dent, the founder, opposing Cowie's ideas, resigned. So did Alcock and Creagh. Cowie, within a short time had Leicester P. Beaufort (a lawyer with no experience of the east nor of administration) appointed as governor.'

Referring to Cowie and Beaufort K.G. Tregonning said,

"Between them the two nearly ruined North Borneo", . . . . . Beaufort the most incompetent Governor North Borneo ever acquired and who in the manner of nonentities, had a town named after him. . . . ."

Thinking he could expand the state's weakening economy Cowie launched two grand projects: a railway line from Brunei Bay to Cowie Harbour and a telegraphic line from Labuan to Sandakan. Both these projects cost the Chartered Company a great deal of money. To help pay for these two projects new taxes were imposed, among these was a new tax on rice, a staple food of many of the people. "The duty on rice added about 5% to its cost, and it produced a loud outcry from the Chinese, through their Advisory Council, and from the planters, through their Association. In 1898 they combined and with the native chiefs sent a strong petition to London, listing grievances, protesting at the increased charges, and particularly at the tax on rice. This was one of the irritants which undoubtedly influenced supporters of Mat Salleh, as rice was the staple food of everyone".' Poll-tax which had been collected earlier now caused unrest because of the manner of the native chiefs that Beaufort employed agents to collect this tax.

It was Cowie's belief, from the start of Mat Salleh's antigovernment activities, that the Bajau leader should be made to come to terms with the Chartered Company. He felt it illadvised to hunt down Mat Salleh for punishment. So strongly did Cowie think about this that he personally came to Sabah to negotiate with Mat Salleh in 1898.

After a personal meeting with Mat Salleh Cowie verbally agreed to grant a pardon for Mat Salleh and his followers on condition they stopped fighting and to make their homes in Tambunan. Tambunan at the time was not under Chartered Company control. The Tambunan people would therefore come under his authority. Cowie also promised him a present (an unspecified sum of money and help towards Mat Salleh's pilgrimage to Mecca) if he did not cause trouble in the next 12 months. Then he would also be allowed to return to the coast.

Although Cowie reasoned that these were fair terms of submission many of the Sabah administrators thought these concessions were outrageous.

Among those who resigned in protest were G. Hewett, the West Coast Resident, Captain T.M. Reddie, the Commandant of Police, G. Ormsby, the North Keppel District Officer, P. Wise and one or two other west coast officers.

Also, from his handling of the Mat Salleh negotiations, Cowie lost the support of the Court of Directors in London. They initially felt it absurd to settle the matter by negotion. Further, Cowie in Sabah had failed in communicating to London the exact lines taken by the government in pursuing Mat Salleh. His reports of Mat Salleh's exploits and the stands taken by the government were unclear.

On the other hand there were many in Sabah who felt, quite unwisely, that Cowie had succeeded in making Mat Salleh come to terms with the government. These people felt Mat Salleh had been let off too lightly. The British North Borneo Herald leader of May 2, 1898 ran:

"Both the Government and the shareholders of the British North Borneo Company may be congratulated upon the sub mission of Mat Salleh a general sense of relief that an initating source of worry has been done away with will be generally felt, even by those who would have dealt with him in a harsher manner. It will be noted that certain conditions he tried to make were peremptorily negatived and that the prestige of the Government has not suffered in the hands of Mr. Cowie or Goverrmor to the ex-rebel".

When the terms of submission were drawn up for Mat Salleh's signature however, the Bajau felt he had been double-crossed. The verbal agreement reached was that he and his followers were all to be pardoned. The written agreement stated that some of his followers who were escaped prisoners were not pardoned. For this he immediately started building a fort in Tambunan.

Cowie blamed Beaufort for this blunder. In return Beaufort criticised Cowie for the concession.

When the Chartered Company assumed control over Sabah certain areas still remained part of Brunei's jurisdiction. These included independent rivers like the Mengkabong, Menggatal, Gantisan and Api-Api. Eventually the Company tried to bring under control many of these areas in its efforts for expansion.

From neighbouring Sarawak Rajah Charles Brooke issued strong objections to this. He had entertained hopes of inheriting the then declining Brunei Sultanate. In addition Rajah Brooke felt the advent of the Chartered Company a threat to his kingdom.

With the development of Mat Salleh's agitation, Chartered Company officials felt it imperative to get control of these areas and police them.

Coupled with this and Cowie's wish to personally negotiate with Mat Salleh the two met for the first time on April 22, 1898. Menggatal came under the Chartered Company control on the same day.

Minimum spending of any kind by the Chartered Company authorities was the order of the day. This even extended to the police force. In 1882 there were only about 50 men in the force. The majority of these were Sikhs sent by Hugh Low from Perak to suppress the Padas Damit rebellion in 1888. Inspector De Fontaine, in 1883, found the force, "scattered around the east and west coast stations totally undisciplined, with arms of different types and six different uniforms……..

The "Dyaks" referred to in the police force elsewhere in this chapter were the natives of Sarawak during the Rajah Brooke days. They were later known as lbans. "Dyaks" was a term loosely used by the Sarawak Malays and the Europeans. The lbans in their customary ways of wanderlust found jobs in the Chartered Company service and soon the "native" police employed were the lbans.

According to Ian Black ., a historian, "The Court preferred that police be recruited locally, both for reasons of expense and to avoid any criticism that imported aliens were to be used to subdue a native population .......

However, none of the Sabahan natives seemed overly-keen to join the force.


At the time Governor W.H. Treacher sent the Commandant of the British North Borneo Constabulary, A.M. Harrington, to India to recruit for police persormel.' This was also the practice of the Federated Malay States. The London Court of Directors were incensed at this kind of unnecessary expenditure and ordered Harrington back to Sabah. However, he had already enlisted 100 Sikhs, Sepoys and Somalis from Singapore, Perak and Penang.

Only when Mat Salleh's activities intensified and the authorities were sent hither and thither trying to hunt him down did they realise how weak its force was. Consequently, Governor Beaufort appealed to the Straits Settlement Government for troops and arms. Sir Charles Mitchell, the governor there, refused as Cowie was not much admired by Straits Settlements authorities." His successor, Sir James Alexander Swettenham was equally critical of the Chartered Company's rule."

In April 1898 when Cowie offered Mat Salleh to live in the Tambunan Valley and the right to lead the people there the area at the time had not come under Chartered Company rule.

In June the same year Cowie opened a station in Tambunan. Mat Salleh was given the message that he should work side by side with F.W. Fraser, the Keningau District Officer.

Understandably Mat Salleh viewed this as a breach of faith. Once more he and his followers went about raiding and killing.

The Inanam river was another area which was still under the control of the Brunei authorities. In 1896 Beaufort went to Brunei to buy the rights on customs, taxation and police control from the Brunei Sultan." The Inanam Bajaus became resentful over what they felt unwanted control by the British. Thus when Mat Salleh was looking for supporters for the raid on Gaya Island in 1897 they went readily enough. Subsequently the Chartered Company sent a force and burnt down all the Inanam villages.

The supernatural powers possessed by Mat Salleh and his principal wife, Dayang Bandang, are legendary.

Mat Salleh was the son of Datu Balu, a Sulu chief who controlled part of the Labuk and Sugut area prior to the Chartered Company days. His mother was Bajau and he spent part of his childhood in Inanam and Gaya Island.

He married Dayang Bandang, a Sulu princess, from the Court of the Sultan of Sulu. Mat Salleh himself was a pangeran. It has been claimed that Dayang Bandang never set foot on ground but was carried everywhere in a litter. There were other claims too that she was a witch.

Interestingly, when Mat Salleh replied to Cowie's request for a meeting between the two he said I say truly I very much wish to meet Tuan Cowie but my wife, Dayang Bandang, is afraid of the police who are near Tambunan"."

Cowie in his opening negotiations with Mat Salleh wrote to the latter mentioning that Dayang Bandang's father was a great friend of his." Cowie also said that he had known Mat Salleh's wife when she was a child.

The first records of Mat Salleh were in 1894 when he became a trader on the Sugut river. He had a band of followers even then. The first clash that Mat Salleh had with the authorities was when two lbans were killed by Mat Salleh's men in the same year.

Mat Salleh has been described as a tall, slim and pockmarked man. His personality, by all accounts, was a commanding one. Mat Salleh had been rated with above-average intelligence, a military affairs genius and it has also been said that as a youth he had been able to throw a buffalo by its horns. Other tales of Mat Salleh say that his mouth produced flames, his parang a lighting flash and rice scattered by him became wasps.

The pangeran also had a taste for fine clothes.

In his diary describing his first meeting with Mat Salleh

Cowie wrote of the latter's striking appearance. He was dressed in gold cap, smart green embroidered tunic, and Sulu embroidered trousers with no waistband. He wore no arms. His manner and appearance made me aware that I was face to face with the Rob Roy of British North Borneo, the notorious Mat Salleh, whom I at once saluted with a 'tabek' ". "

Among his own people he commanded great respect. When he found it necessary to increase his forces he easily picked up supporters enroute to his points of attack. A belief was also held by the people that Mat Salleh had performed the kebalrite. For this, the person who wants to become kebal goes into the deep jungle in his war gear and fasts for three days and three nights. He prays to the spirits of his ancestors. If successful, on his third night, his ancestors will bestow him with special knowledge. The person will then become invulnerable to weapons.

Mat Salleh's plan of undermining British rule in Sabah consisted of raiding and retreating to a fort. If the fort did not prove safe enough he would slip into the jungle. This was a method commonly used by warring chiefs in Borneo. His geography of Sabah was astounding, looking at the many slips he gave the authorites. He would attack at one point, disappear and surface again at the other end of the country.

But Mat Salleh was no ordinary chief. His forts were huge solid affairs, his legion of supporters swelled to large numbers when necessary.

Below is a description of Mat Salleh's Ranau fort by G. Hewett the West Coast Resident who led the expedition in destroying it."

"The fort was a most extraordinary place and without the guns would have been absolutely impregnable. The buildings covered three sides of a square, the fourth side being closed by a stone wall. The whole square was 20m by 18 (22 yards by 20) and the fact that over 200 shells burst inside will give some idea of its strength, the enemy still remaining in possession. The walls of the building were of stone, 2.5m (8 feet) thick with numerous large bamboos built into them for loop holes. The whole fort was surrounded with three bamboo fences with the twigs left on and the ground between was simply covered with sudah (bamboo spikes). On the outer walls all the loopholes were slanted so as to bear directly on the outer bamboo fence, but there were also places between the big stones on the top of the walls for firing through. On the side of the square the loopholes were also very cunningly arranged to repel internal attack. There was neither exit nor entrance to the buildings and had an attacking force, no matter how strong, succeeded in reaching the middle of the square they would have been no nearer capturing the place than if they had stayed away, and they would have been shot down like sheep by an invisible foe without the possibility of returning the fire.

"The houses were originally built some 2m (7 feet) or so off the ground, the stone walls being supported on heavy timbers. Subsequently the lower part was walled in and the ground inside excavated to afford a refuge. Fortunately they had left a narrow slit about 15 cm (6 inches) wide between the upper and lower walls and the shells had penetrated through this, the only possible spot, into their underground refuges.

"The outer enclosure which was carried by assault on the13th December proved to be almost a circle some 72 or 82m (80 or 90 yards) in diameter and closely packed with houses which entirely shut out all view of the rear of the strong hold, making it impossible to shell it effectively and the object of the assault at the first attack was not the capture of the stronghold but to expose its rear by destroying all the houses in the enclosure. In this we were entirely successful and had the assault not taken place the fort would still be in the hands of Mat Salleh".

During the troubled years that the Chartered Company encountered with Mat Salleh's exploits numerous punitive expeditions were sent into the wilds of Sabah to pursue him.

One of these expeditions was led by Raffles Flint, who in 1890, was in involved in a bloody massacre, killing between 130 to 140 Muruts at the Pegan River in the interior.19 This was in retaliation to the alleged murder of Walter Flint, Raffles' brother, by the Muruts there.
Mat Salleh's death, it has been said, resulted from a fluke shot from a maxim bullet during the seige of his Tambunan fort.

On February 1, 1900 a Bajau woman, known only as Niuk, on trying to escape from the fort, when apprehended said that Mat Salleh had been killed the day before, at noon.

Niuk said Mat Salleh's corpse had been shrouded in white for burial in the fort. Mat Salleh's body was the only one accorded this treatment.

Five other bodies were dug up before Mat Salleh's corpse was found. Fraser, the Keningau District Officer, who had met Mat Salleh on many occasions identified his body. This was confirmed by a Murut chief, "Kansanat," several Tiawan chiefs and Tuaran Dusuns. Mat Salleh's death must have been instantaneous as he had been shot through the left temple, the bullet was carried to the back of his head.

From this fort 31 prisoners were taken. They included three of Mat Salleh's wives, a son and a daughter." Dayang Bandang was sent back to the Court of the Sultan of Sulu.

Sabah Present & Former Chief Ministers

Sabah Ex-Chief Ministers

1st (1963-1964) & 5th (April-June 1976)

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(Dec 1994 - May 1996) CHIEF MINISTER OF SABAH

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(May 1996 - May 1998) CHIEF MINISTER OF SABAH

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(May 1998 - 13 Mar 1999) SABAH CHIEF MINISTER

Datuk Seri Panglima Osu Bin Hj. Sukam
(14 Mar 1999 - Mar 2001 ) SABAH CHIEF MINISTER

Datuk Chong Kah Kiat
 (17 Mar 2001 -  26 Mar 2003 ) SABAH CHIEF MINISTER

 (27 Mar 2003 -  Now) SABAH CHIEF MINISTER


( A Murut Folk Tale ) 

It was the tradition of the Murut tribe to select a chief from amongst them. There was an old man with a 'Titimbak' (Murut traditional head gear), who claimed that he was the chief of all chiefs. The folk accepted him as their righfful 'Orang Tua' (Chief) and followed his advise and instructions. This was probably because he was very practical, wise and kind-hearted.

One day he instructed all the villagers to cultivate as many 'Tabasan' (rice fields) as possible, which meant that they had to clear a lot of jungle and bushes for planting.

They obediently did what the old man instructed. Before the clearing began, the old man told them to spare the Nibong and Menggaris trees. After the massive and tiring job of clearing the sites. the villagers began to plant.

It did not take long and they were able to harvest quantities of rice like never before. There was enough to feed everyone for a very long time. However the storage space was not enough to accommodate the huge quantity of the rice harvest and the villagers began to worry. The old man calmed them down and promised to take care of the grain's storage. He used his magic power and stored all the harvest inside the Nibong and Menggaris trees.

The villagers were very happy and praised their chief for his good idea. However, the old man had to stand guard by the trees all the time in order to ensure a fair distribution of rice among the villagers.

As time went by, most of the villagers became greedy and hinted that the old man was misusing his power. They decided to protest and find a better solution for a fair distribution.

After a big argument and protest by the villagers, the old man said: "If you want to see all the grain, it can never be restored again as it is against the magic power". However, at this stage inquisitiveness was stronger than any other reason and the villagers demanded that the old man produces the rice stored in the trees.

In a fit of anger the old man threw his spear into the Menggaris and Nibong trees and all the golden grain came pouring out of the trees, until the ground was paved with rice. By now, the villagers started to realise that they were wrong about their chief. Howevec it was too late. They had misjudged the Orang Tua. The magic power of the old man worked only once. The old man felt very offended having his leadership doubted and laid o curse upon all of them.

He said: "Your generation shall meet a similar fate to that of the banana trees. When the old tree dies it will leave the young to fend for itself." So it was to be with the villagers. The young had to fend for themselves ffom this date onwards.

Since they were cursed, the villagers begged the old man to impose a lesser punishment upon them. They preferred to be like the moon. When the full moon disappears the young moon will immediately appear again. The old man agreed but he caused the tribe to inherit both punishments. Unlike before with an unending supply of rice from the old man, they had to work very hard for a living even till this day.


( A Kadazan Folk Tale ) 

Tareb, the son of the god Kineringan wanted to marry another god's daughter. However, he was restricted because he could not deliver the 'Barian' (dowry) to heaven. The dowry had to be obtained from the earth.

He was very upset and disappointed. He thought of a plan which involved swallowing the moon. Once he had done that, there was darkness on earth and the people began to worry and became afraid. They thought that they had offended the gods and decided to hold a feast.

They prepared all kinds of food, gathered their gongs, drums, jars of wine, items of jewellery and beads, dressed in traditional costumes and began to celebrate. They danced and sang, beat the gongs and slaughtered animals as a sacrifice to please the heavenly deity.

Tareb, on seeing such delighfful sights, began to savour the spirit of their celebration and, having forgotten all about the moon in his mouth, he accidentally opened his mouth and released the moonlight again.

Tareb, by this time, was so engrossed with delight at the sight of the barian, consisting of the gongs, musical instruments and jewellery, that he could not care less what happened to the moon. He had got what he wanted and was able to marry his loved one.

The people on earth were even happier at the sight of the moonlight.

The story goes even today, that whenever there is an eclipse, the folk still adhere to the traditional ways of bringing back the moon by celebrating to appease the spirits, same as they had done in the past.


( A Rungus Folk Tale ) 

There wos once a very beautiful long house near Ulu Pong. The folk there were happy people who enjoyed a prosperous life. Many kinds of entertainment and celebrations were held. Beside the usual activities of gong beating. dancing and wine sipping, they also included domestic animals in the fun. They took great pleasure in teasing and abusing the animals.

However by traditional custom, they were supposed to respect domestic animals like dogs, cats, pigs, and goats, as contrary actions were believed to offend the gods.

One day, while they were carrying on as usual with their merry making, a great storm, which lasted several days swept over the village, causing heavy damage to nature. They did not care about what was happening outside as they were too drunk and happy to bother. Besides, they felt very secure inside their huge long house.

It did not take long for the water to rise and flood the entire land, including the long house. Since they had offended the gods, there was no way of escaping without punishment. When the flood eventually subsided, no long house could be seen anymore, but instead a huge pool filled with crocodiles.

Up till this date, the village folk believe that the gods caused the storm to serve as a punishment to those who do not observe their customs and have no respect for animals. Sometimes the villagers trap those crocodiles in the pool for food, which they also sell on the local market.

The site is known as "The Crocodile Pool" of Kota Marudu as well as Kulum Buyut. The folk there believe that they must never harm or abuse animals again.