Friday, April 18, 2008

Short History of Management of Foochow (Sibu)Areas

With the increase in the number of Chinese settling down in Sarawak, the Brooke Government decided that it was time to form a proper system of social management.

The largest number of Chinese settlers was in Kuching. in 1876,the Rajah decreed that "a the post Kang Chu (Head of a River)would be established appointed and be responsible for the security and small legal affairs. The Government of the Rajah would continue to be the overall power for major decision making however, local cigarette,liquor, horse racing and other businesses would be in the hands of the Kang Chu."

The history of the Sarawak Kang Chu if it had been recorded well would have been a tremendous read and a source of reference for historians,politicians, scholars and readers alike

This in a way, was indeed a very great delegation of power by the Rajah Brooke to the Chinese Kang Chu. For several years, this system worked pretty well, in view of the peace and order the Rajah had brought to Sarawak. However,later , when the population of the Chinese immigrants grew to be large, the Rajah appointed a chinese Affairs Secretary in 1925.

This created a new management system with more personnel and more layers of decision making. Between 1925 and 1948, the following were appointed local headmen, in charge of their specific Foochow areas:
1. Lau Kah Tii (Ensurai)
2. Wong Kah Chiu (Sg. Merah and Liik Kii - sixth district)
3. Wong Sing Hui (Sibu Town)
4. Ting Ming Kang (Siong Poh)
5. Tiong Nai Tiong (Three Rivers Village)
6. Wong Chii Wang (Ah Poh)
7. Lau Tiu Hoo (Sg. Assan)
8. Ling Chii Ming (Bukit Lan)
9. Wong Chou Siang (Tanjong Kunyit)
10. Tiong Kung Ping (Binatang)
11. Wong Ching Poh (Sarikei)

Between 1949 and 1959, only the Sibu headmen were listed together, Binatang and Sarikei Headmen were not on the same list.

1949-1959 List of Sibu Foochow Headmen (Kii Tiong)

1. Wong Sing Kheng (Sibu Town)
2. Lau Kie Kwong ( Nang Chong)
3. Wong Chou Siang (Tanjong Kunyit)
4. Tiong Tiong Kee (Bukit Lima)
5. Tiang Ching Teng (Engkilo)
6. Tiong Nai Chang (Three Rivers Village, or San Ho Chong)
7. Tiong Wan Ming (Ensurai)
8. Tang Yin Eng (Nan Chong)
9. Ling Chii Ming (Bukit Lan)
10. Wong Kah Ting (Sg. Assan)

The Third Term list of Headmen 1959 - 1970
1. Ting Lik Hung (Sibu Town)
2. Ting Chew Huat (Sixth Preccinct or Luk Kii, Sungei Merah)
3. Tai Sing Chu (Engkilo)
4. Wong Ta Heng (Sg. Assan)
5. Tiong Nai Tiong (Three Rivers Village)
6. Kang Hin Yu (Tanjong Kunyit)
7. Lau Kie Kwong (Nan Chong)
8. Tang Yin Ing ( Sing nan Chong)
9. Tiong Wong Ming (Ensurai)

According to some historical records, from 1960, March , after the annual headmen's conference, Sibu was divided into 18 preccincts and 76 local areas. All the 18 headmen and 76 local community leaders or representatives would be under the supervision of the government. Meetings were held, area level decisions could be made, but it was up to the State government to make the final decision.

What was interesting was that a top layer of headmen were appointed more properly to rule over the local area headmen. This created a two level social administrative strata without the administrative system of the British rule. It was a very interesting dual administrative system, perhaps a spin off from the Rajah days..

Here is the list of the 18 headmen (Kii Tiong) and their local area representatives (Poh Tiong).

1. Kii Tiong or Headman of lst Preccinct - Ting Lik Hung (Area headmen : Yik Tek - Lee Yu Siong, Queensway - Ting Cheng Leong,Kiew nang - Lau Kiu Sing,Salim - Chieng Yin Siong, Pulau Keladi - Lau Chuong Chang and Durin - Wong Leong Meu)

2. Kii Tiong of 2nd Preccinct - Ting Chew Huat (Area headmen : Sungei Merah - Ting Chiw Hing, Bukit Lai - Lo Kwong Cheong, Bukei Assek - Wong Kee Ching, Queensway - Ling Siew Yu, Nan Shan - Chieng Tiong Yew)

3. Kii Tiong of 3rd Preccinct - Ting Kah Ong (Heng Hua)

more to come....

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