Tuesday, December 02, 2008

People - Sarikei Sherip Masahor. Part 2

When James Brooke and his nephew, the Tuan Besar, Captain Brooke, were on leave in England, Masahor and Gapur plotted to cause anti-colonial outbreaks in Kanowit, Sarikei, Lundu and Kuching. They wanted to kill all Brooke government officers and allies. Similar rebellion was to be held in Pontianak and other parts of Dutch Borneo.

To weaken the loyalty of the Malays and Dayaks close to the popular Brookes, they spread rumours that the James Brooke had lost favour with the Queen of England and she would not help him.

Sarikei River, Petelit side, 2007

In June 1859, 2 of Brooke's officers, Charles Fox and Henry Steele, were killed while walking unarmed at Kanowit fort. The killers were Kanowit and Banyok Dayaks loyal to Masahor. The Malay soldiers at the fort did not help the victims.

A boat was dispatched to Kanowit for the headless remains of Fox and Steele, and they were buried at Sarikei near the fort in a ceremony performed by John Channon. (Source: 2 and 3). More on this in a future post on Sarikei fort.

JBrooke's forces attacking Kanowit
Source: Men of Sarawak, A.M. Cooper, 1968.

Masahor tried to hide his part in the murder by killing some of the leaders of the raiding party when they reported to him in Sarikei. However, the Tuan Muda, Charles Brooke, suspected he was the leader of the plot but Charles did not act against Masahor for now. Charles destroyed the Kabah stronghold (above Kanowit) of the Kanowit and Banyok Dayaks and executed the Malay garrison. The Kanowit fort was rebuilt and a loyal Abang Ali was put in charge.

When Charles Brooke arrived in Kuching, he was warned by people that Gapur was inciting the Dayaks to rebel. Charles called a meeting of Kuching chiefs and they decided to put Gapur on exile to Singapore.

Did Masahor give up? No, he masterminded a third complex plot to eliminate the colonial government. To be continued ...

Unless quoted, all other info in this post are from source 1.
1. Men of Sarawak, A.M. Cooper, 1968.
2. Power And Prowess, J H Walker 2002. p155. Submitted by Ikan Sembilang
3. Ten Years In Sarawak, Charles Johnson Brooke 1866. p 342. Submitted by Ikan Sembilang

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