Sunday January 6, 2013
A man of great legacy
By YU JI
KUCHING: The late Temenggong Datuk Kanang Langkau was one of the leaders from the generation that built Malaysia, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“I know the late Datuk wanted to see and be a part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Sarawak and Sabah joining Malaya to form Malaysia, which is this year. It is unfortunate that he is not with us anymore. I just want to say that we really have lost a warrior,” Taib said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters after attending the wake which took place at Kuching Civic Centre, Taib said Kanang’s legacy was one of nation-building.
“He was a warrior, a hero, who showed the highest bravery. Because of his will, his spirit, we can live in a Malaysia that is very peaceful today. We are a prosperous and peaceful nation because of people like him.”
Asked if special financial assistance would be given to Kanang’s family, Taib said the matter could be considered.
“We’ll talk about it,” Taib replied, declining to comment further on the issue.
Kanang, who holds the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa, died of an apparent heart attack on Thursday in a modest home here at Sungai Apong.
The Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa is an award that is the highest ranking in the list of Malaysian Federal Ranking of Awards. It is ranked higher than the Darjah Kerabat Diraja Malaysia (DKM) awarded to Malaysian royalty.
Taib said Kanang’s memory was best honoured by strengthening peace and harmony.
“Patriots like Kanang have given us peace, something we all enjoy, in particular youths. I believe, I hope, youths realise how peaceful we are today. This is something we have to keep. We can never let our peace be affected. Part of that is to focus on youths’ social issues. We have to preserve our unity, which will prevent our country from facing bigger problems,” Taib said.
Kanang’s funeral is today. He will be interred at the Warrior’s Cemetery, Jalan Budaya.
Kanang Langkau was born in 1945 in Julau, Sarawak. He joined the service with the Sarawak Rangers, then part of the British Army, as an Iban Tracker on April 21, 1962. He was absorbed into the Malaysian Rangers when Malaysia was proclaimed on Sept 16, 1963.
On Feb 19, 1980, Kanang led a platoon against a group of communist, which erupted into a firefight. He was shot three times, survived and returned to duty.
In his later years, Kanang was an active community leader, a motivational speaker at youth events, and even made the news in April 2009, when he and a friend Tay Choon Yong rescued a baby orang utan from captivity.
The baby orang utan was handed over to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.