MIRI: The young generation of Kelabit ethnic group should emulate the fighting spirit of their older generation, especially those who have served the nation’s security forces. “With such spirit and courage, we can achieve success,” said Deputy Speaker of the Sarawak Legislative Council (DUN) Dato Gerawat Gala at the appreciation night held for the nation’s hero, Sub-Inspector (B) Ngalinuh Bala @Kilah Ratu S.P. on Saturday night held at Pullman Miri Waterfront.
Ngalinuh Bala is one of the two last surviving recipients of the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP-Grand Knight of Valour), the highest federal award which can be presented in the county, in Sarawak. “SI Ngalinuh not only fought with his enemies even when he was shot and injured; he also made sure that the enemy did not get or kill his colleague.
Not only his platoon was outnumbered by the enemy but they were also caught in a very disadvantaged position as the enemy ambushed them from higher ground,” Gerawat recalled on a citation for Ngalinuh. He added, due to Ngalinuh’s fighting spirit and effective leadership of his platoon members, Ngalinuh was able to fight off his enemy and save the lives of all his colleagues. “This is the fighting spirit which will help to sustain our community in this increasingly competitive and challenging environment around us,” Gerawat explained.
The SP award was created on July 29, 1960 and gazetted on Aug 11, 1960. It ranks higher than the Order of the Royal Family of Malaysia (DKM) awarded to Malaysian royalty. As the highest federal award, it outranks awards which carry the title of Datuk, Tan Sri or Tun. Gerawat said, Ngalinuh’s achievement has made the Kelabit’s community proud.
“We are very proud and the recognition that our Nation has given to you which is the highest bravery award in our Nation,” he pointed out. “To date you are the only from our Kelabit and even Orang Ulu community who has achieved the highest possible distinction for military service,” he reiterated.
“Through your bravery award, your sacrifice and duty to the nation, all of us are forever grateful to you,” he said. He also stressed that security forces are the key assets holding the country’s peace and security. “With sacrifices made by these veteran heroes, has allowed the peace and harmony that we all live in today,” he added. In the event, Gerawat announced allocation of RM10,000 to the Rurum Kelabit Sarawak association and RM7,000 to NgalinuhBala.
More than 600 people including 250 Kelabits who had or are still serving the country as soldiers or policemen or their next-of-kin attended at the event. Amongst those present were former Deputy state secretary Datu Ose Murang, Army Field Commander, Earstern Command, Lt General Datuk Stephen Mundaw, Commissioner of Police Sarawak, Datuk Azman Yusof, Rurum Kelabit Sarawak president, Dr Philip Raja.
Earlier, Dr Philip Raja disclosed in his opening remark, the association has list out about 300 Kelabits who had been in nation’s security forces, after and before the formation of Malaysia.
“The Kelabits have contributed five per cent of our total population of 6,000 in the service, past and present, thus we are indeed proud that our small community had contributed significantly to the peace and security of our beloved country,” said Dr Philip.
Meanwhile, Datuk Stephen Mundaw in his opening speech, threw on suggestion to merge the army and police retiree associations for better benefits of their members. “I believe when these two associations merge under one roof, we can voice out members’ welfare more effectively to the State government,” said Mundaw.
The event wrapped up with the Kelabit’s traditional ceremony known as ‘Nebang’ for Ngalinuh. For the record other Sarawakians who received SP while they were still alive were the late Inspector (rtd) Reggie anak Deli (police) and late Datuk Temenggong WO I (rtd) Kanang anak Langkau (army).