First Bumiputra Engineer

The first Bumiputra to qualify as an engineer, Abdullah Mohd Noor (Haji), was born on 12 September 1947 in Limbang. He received his primary and secondary education at Sekolah Melayu Pusat, Limbang (1954 to 1960), Tanjong Lobang Secondary School (1961 to 1967) and Tun Datuk Patinggi Tuanku Haji Bujang College, Kuching.

He obtained his degree in civil engineering from Monash University, Melbourne in Australia in 1971 and joined the Sarawak Public Works Department as Assistant Executive Engineer with PWD Headquarters, Sarawak from March 1972 to September 1972. From October 1972 to October 1974 he was the Resident Engineer for PWD Mechanical Road Construction Unit 3, Kuching before leaving to go into business.

SARAWAK’s first Bumiputra MA graduate, Tun Datuk Patinggi Dr Haji Ahmad Zaidi bin Muhammed Noor.

First Bumiputra MA Graduate

The first Bumiputra MA graduate was Ahmad Zaidi Adruce bin Muhammed Noor (Tun Datuk Patinggi Dr Haji). Born on 16 August 1924 in Sibu, he had his early education in Sibu, Kuching and Kuala Kangsar before entering the Sultan Idris College in Tanjung Malim, Perak. He then studied at the Veterinary College in Bandung, Indonesia, before leaving for Edinburgh University in 1950. The first Sarawakian to pursue studies up to university level, he completed his M.A. in political economy in 1953. Since the Sarawak Government wanted him to be a trained teacher, he went to University of London for a diploma in education which he completed in mid 1955.

In 1956, he was a teacher and later the headmaster of Sekolah Madrasah Melayu in Kuching. While serving in the Sarawak Education Service from 1958 to 1963, he was a Sea Scout teacher for two years and his last post in service was assistant education officer. An active politician, he was president of the Barisan Pemuda Sarawak from 1956 to 1963 and among the first leaders to sit on the Council Negeri as an elected member from 1957 to 1958 before his appointment as the Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister in 1974. He became the fifth Head of State on 2 April 1985 until his death on 5 December 2000.

First Bumiputra Doctor
Dr. Ishmael Mohammed Effendy was born on 26 August 1939 in Matu. He is the first known Bumiputra doctor from Sarawak. After his Upper Six education at St. Joseph’s Secondary School in 1960, he worked as a temporary teacher in Tanjong Lobang before entering the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in 1961. He earned his Bachelor in Science in 1964 and qualified as M.D. in 1968.

TAN Sri Datuk Amar Dr Sulaiman Haji Daud, the first Bumiputra dentist in Sarawak.

First Bumiputra Dentist
The first Bumiputra dentist, Sulaiman Haji Daud (Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr.), was born in Kuching in August 1934. A Colombo Plan scholar, he graduated in dentistry from Otago University, New Zealand, in 1962 and in public health from Toronto University in Canada on a Sarawak government scholarship in 1965. Between 1963 and 1968, he served in Kuching, Miri, Limbang and Lawas before spending four years with the Brunei Medical Department.

In 1972 he became a political secretary to Datuk Amar Taib Mahmud who was then Federal Minister of Primary Industries. He then entered politics and held various state and federal ministerial positions such as Sarawak Minister of Land Natural Resources (1973); Deputy Federal Minister of Lands and Mines (1974); Deputy Minister of Health (1977); Minister of Federal Territory (1981); Minister of Education (1981); Minister of Culture, Youth & Sports (1984); and Minister of Agriculture (1999). He was Member of Parliament for Santubong when he won the seat in the parliamentary general election in November 1999.

First Bumiputra Architect
The first Bumiputra architect in Sarawak, Lankie Simbas, was born on 1 April 1941 in Kuching. After attending the Technical College in Kuala Lumpur, he graduated with a diploma in architecture from the Western Australian Institute of Technology in Perth on 7 June 1976.

He was with the Public Works Department, Kuching, as an engineering assistant from 1968 to 1973, and as an architect from 1976 to 1979. The founder partner of Arkiskape Konsultant, he served as a committee member of the Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) Sarawak Chapter form 1979 to 1980 and secretary from 1980 to 1982. He registered with the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) on 4 December 1979 and PAM on 28 December 1985.

First Bumiputra Accountant
The first Bumiputra accountant, Hamden Haji Ahmad, was born on 3 September 1948 and educated at Three Rivers Secondary School (1961-1963), Kanowit Secondary School (1964-1965) and Tanjung Lobang Secondary School, Miri (1966-1967). After attending the MARA Institute of Technology and London School on Accountancy, he qualified as a chartered accountant and joined the Lembaga Padi dan Beras Negara (now BERNAS) as branch accountant in 1973.

In 1974, he was appointed as an internal auditor of the Sarawak Land Development Board (LKTS). Together with Kieu Chong Ming, they founded Hamden Kieu and Partners, an accounting firm, in 1981. In 1986, he became the first Sarawakian to get approval from the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange to be a partner in a stock-brokering firm. From 1987 to 1998, he was the chairman and director of Kuraya Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. (timber trading and investment) and a director of Mansang Holdings Sdn. Bhd. (property). Haji Hamden is also a member of the State Legislative Assembly for the Belawai constituency.

First Bumiputra Surveyor
The first Bumiputra surveyor, Borhan Haji Sablo, was born on 18 July 1928 in Kuching. He received his early education at Sekolah Kampung Jawa, Madrasah Melayu School, St. Joseph’s School and St. Thomas’s School in Kuching.

In 1949, he joined the Geological Survey Department in 1950 as a technical assistant and obtained a scholarship for a diploma in land surveying in the Technical College, Kuala Lumpur in 1953. Upon its completion in 1957, he worked in the Land and Survey Department for siex months and was sent to New Zealand for a professional course in land surveying from 1958 to 1962.

In 1962, he became the first Sarawakian to qualify as a land surveyor and was the first Asian to be a member of the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors. Upon returning to Sarawak, he was posted to Sibu as staff surveyor. In 1966, he was promoted to senior superintendent and assistant director of Lands and Surveys in 1968. He was Director of Lands & Surveys from 1976 before retiring in 1984.

First Bumiputra Woman with PH.D.
The first Bumiputra woman to obtain a Ph.D, Zubaidah Hj. Abdul Rahim, was born in Miri on 13 January 1954 and had her early education there at Anci Malay Primary School (1959-1963), St. Joseph School (1964-1968) and Tuanku Hj. Bujang College (1969-1970). She earned her B.Sc. with second class upper honours in biochemistry in 1975. During postgraduate studies at St. Bartholomew’s Medical College, University of London in 1975-1978, she wrote a thesis, Control of Glycogen Metabolism in Skeletal Muscle, and was conferred a Ph.D. in January 1979.

Between October 1975 and 1979, she tutored and then became a lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya (1976-1988) and later joined the Dean’s Office, Faculty of Dentistry (1988-1989), before her appointment as associate professor in 1989. She has been the Head, Department of Oral Biology, Dental Faculty, University of Malaya since July 1994. Made a full professor in 1998, Prof. Dr. Zubaidah is active in writing and research. Her “Comparative Studies on the Microflora of Fasting and Non-fasting Plague Samples” won third placing in the Pepsodent Indonesia Award in 1997.

SARAWAK’s first Iban Ph.D., Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.

First Iban Ph.D.
Dato Dr James Jemut Masing, an Iban from Kapit, obtained his MA. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the Australian National University in 1978 and 1981 respectively. Earlier, he earned his B.A. in education from the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 1975.

As a politician, he first became a state assemblyman in 1983. At the federal level, he was political secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Telecom and Post (March 1988 to July 1989) and the Ministry of Works (August 1989 to September 1991). He was the Minister of Tourism Sarawak from 1996 to 2000 until his appointment as Minister of Social Development and Urbanisation, Sarawak. A vice-president of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak from 1994 to 2000, he was made its publicity chief from 2000 to 2003.

Among his notable achievements are the Guinness Stout Effort Award 1982, the Jaycees Malaysia Award 1986, the Pegawai Bintang Sarawak in 1993 and the Panglima Negara Bintang Sarawak in 1998.

THE above passages are taken from the book “Sarawak Book of Amazing Facts and Records” which was published in 2001 by SANYAN Group of Companies.

(To be continued)