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Recounting the Memories of the Past
Sultan Abdul Momin ceded many territories to the Brookes and other Europeans due to financial and internal problems. By 1884, the Sultan faced potential problem of shrinking kingdom or even worse probable extinction as British North Borneo Chartered Company and the Brooke encroaching its influence towards the Brunei Proper. The Sultan decided to stop the act of ceding or leasing the remaining territories of Brunei by introducing an agreement to all of the Wazirs, Manteris and Tulin holders. This happened in 1885 but unfortunately the Amanat was not effective because Brunei had no military means to enforce it and the British had no support in it. Limbang for example was seized in 1890.
Below believed to be the excerpt from the Amanat (or the speech) written on the 6th Jamal-ah-Ahwal, 1302, in the city of Brunei.
“Now concerning Limbang and other countries which still remains under the government of Brunei, they cannot be leased or given away to any other nation but must remain under one rule and that of our ancestors who may be elected Rajahs of Brunei, cannot on any account take rivers, or slaves, or private property and in the same manner the slaves appertaining to the Sovereign cannot be made private slaves. After us to whomever property may belong it will remain to him, rivers, followers, ‘tulin’ and hereditary property. And the customs of our ancestors shall be followed by those who come after us. They can on no account be changed while there is sun and moon, in order that there shall be no complication in the country.”
Mukah was well-known for its sago production. It used to send its sago production to Brunei before it became part of Sarawak in 1861 when Sultan Abdul Momin ceded to James Brooke. Since then sago production became one of the most important trading exports of Sarawak particularly during the Brooke government. Nowadays, oil palm plantation has replaced sago palm cultivation as Mukah’s main agricultural crop.
Traditionally, sago has been the staple food for Melanau people in Sarawak. They make a variety of dishes and delicacies out of sago such as sago pearls, sago crackers and not to mention the nutritious sago worms.
Any comments or insights on Mukah are always welcomed.
When James Brooke strengthened his position as the Rajah of Sarawak and acquired Tanjung Datu to Samarahan river through a treaty signed in 1846 between Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien and the British, he knew that it was just the beginning to his relentless pursuit of territorial expansion and majestic rule in Sarawak.
From 1853 until his death in 1868, he remarkably acquired territories stretching from Tanjung Datu to Tanjung Kedurong from Sultan Abdul Momin in exchange of annual payment which later were passed down to his successor Charles Brooke.
James Brooke knew that by capturing these territories he could make Kuching the busiest trading port in Borneo. Apart from minerals such as gold and antimony, sago and other jungle products were exported to neighbouring countries such as Singapore that would help to generate income for Brooke government. As a result, much of the trade has diverted to Kuching and Brunei suffered trading losses in the long run.
Pengiran Anak Abdul Momin was only related to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien II (SOAS II) when he married to the Sultan’s daughter Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Zubaidah and that made him the son-in-law of SOAS II. On top of that, he was not the first choice candidate to be chosen as the Sultan. In fact it was the brother of SOAS II, Pengiran Anak Muhammad Tajuddien who was the first choice candidate. So how come this son-in-law of SOAS II became the successor?
Part of the reason why he was chosen due to his wealth of experience and knowledge in running the government. He was the Pengiran Bendahara and was in fact upon the death of SOAS II, he have previously served as regent for him during his ill health.
Another reason was that Keris si naga was passed down to him after Pengiran Anak Muhammad Tajuddien rejected to become the Sultan because he wanted his son Pengiran Muda Muhammad Jamalul Alam (also the son-in-law of SOAS II) would become the Sultan but was rejected. As result of that Pengiran Muhammad Tajuddien embarrassed and burned himself using gun powder.
When he became the Sultan, he had huge supporters and he tried to settle the differences within the royal family. He appointed Pengiran Muda Muhammad (brother of Pengiran Muda Hashim) as Pengiran Bendahara and Pengiran Anak Hashim was installed as Pengiran Temenggong.
Syarif Masahor or Sharif Masahor was a famous Malay warrior in Sarawak during James Brooke’s era. He was very influential and respected due to both his charisma in uniting the people of different races and beliefs and also due to his lineage (descendant of Prophet Muhammad).
Like Rentap, Syarif Masahor displeased on James Brooke’s encroachment in Sarawak which caused many locals to rebel. Though not many Malays supported Syarif Masahor and his resistance fighters because of their loyalty to James Brooke, he did his best to stop Brooke’s plan and attacked in Kuching. Unfortunately, his attack came to a failure and banished to Selangor.
Click here for further info on him: http://sarikei-time-capsule.blogspot.com/2008/11/people-sarikei-sherip-masahor-circa.html
Rentap was a famous Dayak (Iban) warrior in Sarawak during James Brooke’s era. Rentap in Iban means Worldshaker. He is a national hero and freedom fighter. Probably you heard his famous battle cry which was Agi Idup, Agi Ngelaban!! which means I will fight as long as I will live!! It later became Malaysia’s Royal Ranger Regiment motto.
So why did Rentap fight against James Brooke you might ask? It was because James Brooke’s action of eliminating the Ibans in Skrang (he thought they were pirates and could impede their trading development in Batang Lupar Area) and also destroying their village.
Though Rentap did in some occasion stopped James Brooke’s plan to control Skrang and Saribas, superior weapons owned by James Brooke’s side were too much to handle.That’s why James Brooke able to crush his opposition and spread his influence in Sarawak.
1). What was Sultan Abdul Momin’s relationship to SOAS I?
The grandson of SOAS I
2). What was Sultan Abdul Momin’s relationship to SOAS II?
The son-in-law of SOAS II.
3). In which year did Sultan Abdul Momin give up James Brooke Batang Lupar Area?
4). What were the territories given up by the Sultan in 1855 to James Brooke?
Samarahan to Rajang.
5). What were the territories ceded by the Sultan in 1861 to James Brooke?
Rajang to Bintulu including Mukah to Oya. Take note: Coastal areas and rivers of Tanjung Kedurong were also ceded to James Brooke in the same year.
6). When did James Brooke leave Kuching after 22 years as the Raja of Sarawak?
1863 and he died in 1868 in England.
7). What were the territories inherited by Charles Brooke when he became the new Raja?
Tanjung Datu to Tanjung Kedurong.
8). What were the areas given to Charles Brooke in 1883?
Tanjung Kedurong to Baram.
9). What were the districts obtained by Charles Brooke in 1884?
Tanjung Puan to Terusan.
10). What was Charles Lee Moses appointed as in Brunei 1865?
American Consul General to Brunei.
11). What were the territories obtained by Charles Lee Moses when he signed a treaty with the Sultan?
Sulaman river to Paitan river.
12). What were the territories obtained by Charles Lee Moses from Pg Temenggong Pg Anak Hashim?
Paitan river to Kimanis including Balabak Island and Palawan Island.
13). What was the name of the company set up by Charles Lee Moses and William Joseph Torrey?
American Trading Company.
14). Who did WJ Torrey sell his concession rights in North Borneo to?
Baron von Overbeck (Austrian Consul General to Hong Kong).
15). Who did Baron von Overbeck go into partnership with and formed the Dent Company?
16). Why did Baron von Overbeck sell his share to Alfed Dent?
He faced financial problems and could not get any support from Austrian government.
17). When did the British government grant the Royal charter to British North Borneo Company ?
18). Who was the first governor of North Borneo?
William Hood Treacher.
19). What was the agreement of Amanat 1885 about?
An agreement between Sultan, Wazirs, Manteris and Tulin holders to not cede any remaining territories to foreigners.
20). Why was the agreement of Amanat 1885 not effective?
No support from the British and Brunei did not have warships to enforce the Amanat so that’s why many Brunei territories continued to be taken including Limbang.
During the reign of Sultan Abdul Momin he gave up Batang Lupar to James Brooke 1853 simply because it was difficult to control the hostile tribes particularly the Iban population. In return the Sultan had annual payment and considered it as a good bargain.
Considering the problems James Brooke had to face in this territories (piracy, headhunters and resistance to his administration) and to encourage trade and development in Sarawak, he built a Fort on lowland named Fort James. However it was soon decided to dismantle and rebuild at a more strategic and more defensive site in Simanggang District. Thus Fort Alice was built.
Fort Alice was named after the wife of Charles Brooke, Ranee Margaret Alice Lili and built on a hill at Simanggang in 1864. It served as the Simanggang administration center and also a prison. Though the fort is still remains in tact, it is an extremely dilapidated and run down condition according to wikipedia.
As always comments are welcomed.
When James Brooke had controlled territories in Sarawak from Tanjong Datu to Tanjong Kedurong in 1861, he named his nephew John Brooke-Johnson Brooke as his successor. Two years later, while John was in England, James deposed and banished John from Sarawak because John had criticised him for the action his uncle attempt on which was to sell the territories he controlled in Sarawak to Belgium or France (though it did not actually happen).
In 1865 James Brooke named his other nephew, Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke as his successor. When James Brooke died in 1868 due to stroke, Charles Brooke became the second Raja of Sarawak.
It is worth taking note that the opportunity presented to him as the Raja of Sarawak was not simply luck, in fact, it was the direct result of his early active experience in the navy ( as a midshipman to Royal Navy), his exposure to the remote places of Sarawak (as Resident of Lundu) as well as open relations with the tribal peoples made him the best candidate as the Raja of Sarawak. In short, he was always someone whom it was more natural to respect (or even fear) than to love and that was one of the many reasons why he was chosen as the Raja of Sarawak.
Captain Rodney Mundy or later known as Admiral Sir George Rodney Mundy was a friend of James Brooke. Both of them support each other if they faced troubles. Captain Rodney Mundy sailed to Sarawak in 1842 he took over HMS Iris and was deployed to Borneo to conduct operations against pirates.
On 1846, James Brooke with Captain Rodney Mundy and Admiral Cochrane sailed to Brunei Town. They attacked the Town on the excuse that the Sultan had done wrong by killing Pg Muda Hashim and his family.
In November 1846 Rodney Mundy was given permission to take over Labuan. He managed to force the Sultan to make up his mind and signed the Treaty of Labuan. He informed the Sultan that British warships was anchoring nearby and that the Sultan would suffer a loss if his palace was burnt down.
24th December 1846 Captain Rodney Mundy hoisted the Union Jack on Labuan Island.