Abang Haji Abdillah
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He was the son of Datu Bandar Abang Haji Mohammad Kassim; who ruled Kuching as a mayor under the White Rajah's administration. He was also the grandson of Datu Bandar Abang Haji Bolhassan and a descendant of Datu Patinggi Ali who fought to achieve Sarawak's independence from Brunei.
After the death of his father in Mecca, in 1921, he was given the title Datu Muda. In 1924, he became the Datu Bandar. He was given the title Datu patinggi in 1937. Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah was a respected Bumiputra leader in Sarawak.
Life as a patriot
He made it clear when he said
"My people and I would never agree with the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown!...We cherish the independence of this state where we were born..."
"Saya dan rakyat tidak bersetuju dengan penyerahan Sarawak kepada Tanah Jajahan Mahkota British!...Saya dan rakyat mencintai kemerdekaan negeri ini, tanah tumpah darah saya..."
In a meeting with British officials, he clearly protested the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown; stating that the cession is illegal as the cession is not accepted by majority of the Bumiputra. Datu Abdillah is a major proponent of Anthony Walter Dayrell Brooke as the fourth White Rajah of Sarawak.
However, the cession went on and Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah resigned from the State Supreme Council. Since then, he started to oppose the British government in his speeches. Datu Abdillah opposed the use of violence.
Realising the political threat, government officials in Sarawak were sent Circular no.9, which threaten the officials to be fired if they oppose the British Crown. Perhaps following the footsteps of Datu Patinggi, many of the Bumiputra officials resigned from their posts. A charismatic leader, Datu Abdillah managed to unite the Dayaks and Malays into one entity.
Unfortunately, after his death the anti-cession movement lost its momentum and is quickly disorganised without a brilliant leader. The violent techniques used by some anti-cessionists activists further quell the fire of patriotism.
Today, Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah is known as a local hero. A school was built in his name to honour his deed to Sarawak; Kolej Datu Patinggi Abang Haji Abdillah. Perhaps, his everlasting legacy was the friendship and understanding between the Malays and the Dayaks.
- Malaysia History Textbook for Form 3 (Buku Teks Sejarah TIngkatan 3) Published by: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
- Sulaiman, Haji Mohd. Hasbie (1989). Perjuangan Anti-Cession Sarawak. PGI Cipta Sdn Bhd. ISBN 983-99640-0-3.