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KUCHING, Oct 29: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah today suggested that a replica of the fortress of revered nationalist Iban warrior Rentap be built in Betong.
He believes it could become a great tourist attraction given Rentap’s enduring fame and exploits in fighting the White Rajahs’ regime.
Uggah, who is Bukit Saban assemblyman made the suggestion when launching the Betong Metro Polytechnic Industry Advisory Council meeting and witnessing the signing of strategic collaborative agreements with various government departments and agencies here.
He noted Rentap had built his fortress on top of Bukit Sadok.
“This was a military strategy and Rentap knew it would be very difficult for Rajah Charles Brooke to defeat him there.
“Charles Brooke’s army tried unsuccessfully to capture the fort in June 1857 and in August 1858.
“It was on the third attempt in October 1861 that Rentap was defeated when one of his generals betrayed him,” Uggah disclosed.
Rentap who then retreated to Pakan district where he eventually died in 1870 is now a much-respected legend in Sarawak, Uggah noted.
“I will talk to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on how we can pursue this.”
Uggah said tourism was a sector full of potential that the state wanted to better develop and promote.
“But we need to have effective strategies, good products and support facilities and very competent workers.”
On Betong Metro Polytechnic, Uggah revealed it was another example of the government’s commitment to provide good education and facilities to rural students.
“We need to train them well so that they can face future challenges well.
“With jobs in the public service and private sectors becoming scarce, our youth should venture into vocational and technical fields,” he said.
Uggah earlier on witnessed the signing of an agreement between the polytechnic and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Also present at the function were the polytechnic director Suhaili Aleh and representatives from various ministries and agencies. — DayakDaily