Bisingai villagers visit ancestral land near Sampadi

Scenes of the Bidayuh community visiting their ancestral land.
Scenes of the Bidayuh community visiting their ancestral land.

KUCHING: More than 300 Bidayuhs from Singai visited their ancestral land near Sampadi in Lundu here recently for a gathering in a show of unity and solidarity among the Bidayuhs at Bisingai.

Led by their Penghulu and 12 community leaders, the Bidayuhs also protested peacefully against encroachment into their community ancestral land at Sungai Kayan and Sungai Butan near Sampadi in Lundu.

They demanded the return of their “Pimuung” which the Bidayuhs living in this area had inherited since time immemorial or even before any formal or elected government even existed in Sarawak.

“The Bisingai area has some 17,000 Bidayuh inhabitants and covers 4,000 hectares within the Sungai Kayan and Sungai Butan areas in Sampadi, Lundu.

“We are not against the government but hope that it will return the “Pimuung”to us, the rightful owners, so as to provide the much needed economic activities for the Bidayuh community,” said Granda Aing, a participant, at the gathering.

“We are in the process of negotiating with the government for a win-win and amicable solution and settlement. This process still ongoing,” disclosed Granda.

According to spokesman, Penghulu Jidokson Raway, the “Pimuung” or territorial domain existed when the Singai people first settled there in 1400 and the Bidayuhs were fighting their enemies or intruders such as the Selako tribe.

“A peace treaty was signed after Panglima Kopier of the Singai community sacrificed himself by agreeing to accept defeat by asking the enemy to chop off his head in return for peace. However, Panglima Kopier was invincible and could not be killed due to his mystical power but prior to his death, he eventually told his enemy how to kill him,” revealed Jidokson.

“Although the Singai people continued to stay on and forage the ground there but due to constant threats from fierce enemies, the community moved to what is today Mount Singai.

“Ever since that time, the area of Sungai Kayan and Sungai Butan remained their foraging ground in search of wood for building houses and for daily sustenance like hunting and fishing.

”As such, the “Pimuung” is regarded as a sacred ground for the Singai community and no farming or cutting of trees or plantation activities is ever allowed,” said Jidokson.