SIBU, Sept 20: The demise of Datuk Awang Raweng, a former member of the elite Iban trackers during the British colonial era, is a great loss to the nation.
Former chairman of the Sarawak Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association (SMAFVA) Thomas Ling said the late Awang, as a hero in the military service, had set a good example to the present servicemen in the armed forces of the country.
“On behalf of the members of the association, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family members of the late Sjn Datuk Dr (Rtd) Awang Raweng. May his soul Rest in Peace,” he said.
Ling said Sarawak veterans felt proud of his excellent contribution to the nation during his service and further he was honoured by National Defence University Malaysia
“His passing is certainly a big loss to the nation,” he said.
Ling recalled that the first time he met Awang was in 1995. After that they would frequently met especially during any function which related to ex-servicemen.
“He was a kind person and each time we met, he always liked to share his military service experience with us,” said Ling.
Former chairman of Sarawak Ex-Royal Navy Association Mohd Safree Madsaf also paid tribute to the late Awang.
“His death is a big loss to the armed forces and armed forces veterans. He was a brave fighter. I would like to thank SMAFVA for taking care of the funeral service ala military style,” said Mohd Safree.
Awang, passed away at a ripe old age of 104 at 2.15pm on Friday at his son’s residence in Taman Padri, Sri Aman.
He was famously known as an Iban war hero who single-handedly fought off communists in the jungles of Johor to defend an injured comrade is being accorded a state funeral.
His remains will be brought to St Thomas Church, Kuching tomorrow, before being laid to rest at the Heroes Memorial, Taman Budaya, Kuching,
The late Awang is the only Sarawakian who was awarded the George Cross ( GC) named after King George VI, for his gallantry and dedicated service by the Queen of England in November 1951.
The award was in recognition of his fight against 50 communists in the Kluang forest, Johor, where he defended an injured British soldier alone.
He continued to fight despite having suffered serious injuries himself.
Awang was reported to have flown to London 20 times to attend the reunion of the First Battalion of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiments where he was considered a dignitary and celebrated hero.
He was also given the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth II and members of the royal family at Buckingham Palace, in addition to receiving a special allowance of £100 every month from the British government.
He was also the recipient of the Panglima Setia Bintang Sarawak award, which carries the title “Datuk” by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud in 2018. -DayakDaily