By Ling Hui
KUCHING, May 25: The Sarawak Museum Department is still investigating how three kliriengs (burial poles) have ended up in the Penyarai River in Tatau, says Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He said a recent drought revealed the submerged kliriengs which then led to officials being despatched to initiate an investigation and to salvage the historical items.
“The river was not that deep, but there was a drought recently and part of the kliriengs can be seen. They are very beautiful. So, I sent officials from my ministry to look into it as the kliriengs have some historical value. The river is not entirely dried up but shallow.
“The (klirieng) poles are made of belian (ironwood) and that’s why they were able to withstand wearing,” he said.
As to why the burial poles were at the bottom of the river, Abdul Karim said he was told that the kliriengs were thrown away by several settlements along the river, but their intention remains unknown.
“We are still unable to pinpoint which native groups (tossed the kliriengs into the river), perhaps the Orang Ulu or the Penan people.
“Probably there were some incidents in the past and bad omens that led to them (kliriengs) ending up in the river. The (Sarawak) Museum (Department) is still studying it,” he said during a press conference on the sidelines of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.
During his ministerial winding-up speech earlier, Abdul Karim said three kliriengs have been salvaged so far, but there could be more still in the waters.
He said the Sarawak Museum Department, Council for Native Customs and Traditions, Sarawak Forestry Department, Tatau District Office, and local community leaders are currently working together to expedite work to protect and preserve the burial poles. — DayakDaily