Saturday, November 29, 2008

People - Sarikei Sherip Masahor. Circa 1810-1890

Sherip Masahor was born in Brunei circa 1810. He was regarded as a Malay patriot for his fights against European colonialism. He used the title Sherip which was meant for descendants of Prophet Mohammed. Masahor means "the illustrious one". Note: Other spelling in old text include Manshor, Messahore, Musahor and Massahore.

He settled in Igan when he was young and had a strong following of Malays and Melanaus. Later he moved his headquarters to Sarikei where he made friends with Ibans. He seized control of Sarikei from Datuk Abdul Rahman (the Sultan of Brunei's rep) in 1849.

James Brooke was proclaimed as Rajah of Sarawak in Sep 1841. When Brooke started to claim more of the Sultan's land, it angered Masahor. In 1851, Masahor's brother, Sherip Bujang, married the daughter of one of Brooke's Malay chief, Datuk Patinngi Gapur. This brought Masahor closer to Gapur.

Sarikei Sherip Masahor
Source: Men of Sarawak, A.M. Cooper, 1968.

In Nov 1853, Brooke humiliated Gapur in front of his peers in Kuching for his heavy tax policy. Gapur partnered with Masahor to exact revenge. They plotted to kill all whites in Kuching while Brooke was in Singapore in 1854 to defend his usage of the British Royal Navy for land expansion. However, their plot was leaked out. Brooked sent Gapur on temporary exile to Mecca and Masahor returned to Sarikei.

In Mukah, a dispute between 2 leaders (cousins), Ersat and Matusin, resulted in the death of Ersat. Masahor led one thousand Ibans from Kanowit and Saribas to avenge the death of Ersat. Matusin requested help from James Brooke who decided to send Charles Brooke to Mukah. James deposed Masahor from Sarikei for selling salt and guns to the Ibans.

In June 1855, James went to the Sultan of Brunei to request for more concessions. In Sep 1855, the Sultan assigned the Brookes as custodians of Mukah. In return, he wanted Masahor to be reinstated to rule Sarikei. Charles Brooke went to Sarikei to build a fort in Jan 1856.

What other plots did Masahor have? To be continued ...

Men of Sarawak, A.M. Cooper, 1968.


nelson said...

we didn't learn much about the Sheriff from history books other than he's a warrior from sarikei(brunei actually). great post by u Daniel, I like history too like the Terri the russky from volgograd novaya russia.

sarawakiana said...

Keep up with your good work! We need more historical writings to encourage the younger learners to love history.

seeputksg said...

Last time i learned from history in schools, it is written sharif masahor... it's actually sheriff?

nice blog!

Daniel Yiek said...


Thanks for dropping by. There are many versions of the spelling. In the old days, the English colonial folks documented what they heard verbally. The road in our kampung in front of the current mosque was named "Jalan Sharif Manshor"

Other spellings in old text include Manshor, Messahore, Musahor and Massahore (Info submitted by reader Ikan Sembilang)

It's just like many of you have typos in your birth certs when your parents pronounced in accented dialects to the officer in charge who then documented what he thought he heard.

I noticed from the counter that readership dropped from 80-100 to 65-70 unique readers per day whenever the topics touched on history. :) I guess history is not everyone's cup of kopi.

Anonymous said...

hey my real name is Sharif Manshor. hahah didn't know I was famous!

Ilhamka said...

syabas, for creating such a good blog on history. keep up the good work!

Black Swan said...

Thanks for the great information on Sherip Masahor and Serikei. It is very interesting. Is there any information available on Sherip Masahor's family tree?

Daniel Yiek said...

Black Swan,

Sorry, I don't have

1) you can search for Sherip Masahor at

2) Try the Kuching libraries but those books are not digitised yet.

Black Swan said...

Thank you Daniel, I have exhausted all of the sites on google. BTW this one is definitely the best. It looks like I will have to check out the Kuching libraries.
Many thanks
Black Swan

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