By Terence Netto
Pakatan Rakyat supremo Anwar Ibrahim denounced the decision of the Sarawak state government to deny a resting place for retired police officer Wilfred Gomez Malong in the Heroes Grave in Kuching as a “gratuitous insult to the memory of an authentic hero of the anti-communist struggle.”
Malong (left), 63, who died last Saturday of colon cancer at the Kuching General Hospital, was the recipient of the Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) at the age of 24 in 1973 when he led an assault on a band of communists in the Kanowit area in Sarawak that resulted in several deaths to the terrorists and their eventual decimation.
“I’m appalled by the decision to deny him a resting place at a site in Kuching reserved for those who placed their heroic selves in the line of fire,” said the opposition leader when told of Malong’s funeral rites, which were conducted at the Kampung Entingan cemetery rather than, as departed man had wished, at the Heroes Grave in Jalan Budaya.
Linked to opposition politics
No representative of the state government and neither a Dayak minister were present at Malong’s funeral yesterday though Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar and Deputy Home Minister Abu Seman Yusof were in conspicuous by their attendance.
Malong, who retired from the police with the rank of assistant superintendent, had long been associated with opposition politics. He was once the secretary-general of the now defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak.
Anwar said courage, both moral and physical, are qualities of surpassing value to society and their recognition at a person’s death, especially when his valour has resulted in the good of society, ought to transcend partisan political considerations.
“If Pakatan comes to power, we will, with the family’s permission, have his remains exhumed and interred in the place it deserves at the Heroes Grave,” said Anwar. – Mkini