BINTULU: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Maimunah Iskandariah showed their recognition of Sarawak’s racial diversity by visiting Kampung Penan Muslim Batu 10 here today.
Village head Raini Piee, 64, said Al-Sultan Abdullah is the first head of state who has visited the village in its 55-year history.
“This is the first time the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has visited our village and we are very pleased and grateful,” he told Bernama.
He said the village was established by his father Piee Miring in 1968 with only three families but now has 374 households and a population of 1,050 people.
“The village was surrounded by thick jungle in those days. My father was one of the village founders. He converted to Islam and married my mother, who was from Brunei.
“According to our history, the Penans are a nomadic tribe without any religion and who usually forage around rivers. My family was from the Sungai Sebiew area in Bintulu before we founded this village,” he said.
Raini said the Penans, who mostly live in the interiors of northern Sarawak, have now changed and accepted new and modern ways of living.
He added that even their attire is more aligned with the Islamic way of dressing and some individuals even hold community leaders’ positions such as Temenggong and Pemanca.
Earlier, the royal couple were given a rousing traditional Penan welcome when they arrived at the village, which is about 15 kilometres from Bintulu.
Their Majesties also presented aid to 100 individuals of the asnaf group in the village.
Also present were Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Samalaju state assemblyman Datuk Majang Renggi.
Tomorrow, the Kembara Kenali Borneo convoy is scheduled to visit the Raymond Plen longhouse in Sungai Gelam, Sebauh, about 44km from Bintulu, with an itinerary of cooking, fishing and presenting aid to the asnaf group.
The Kembara Kenali Borneo from Sept 3 to 13 started in Tawau, Sabah and will end at Telok Melano, Sarawak spanning 2,154km through the Pan Borneo Highway which connects Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. – Bernama