Monday, April 4, 2022

Mat Kilau - a legendary Malay warrior

Mat Kilau is a legendary Malay warrior during colonial era in Malay Peninsular in late 1880. He is one of the Malay warriors who rebelled between the 1880s and 1890s when the colonial masters extended their rule to Pahang. He was famous for fighting the colonials headed by the British Resident, Hugh Clifford.

Mat Kilau was born in 1847 in Kampong Pulau Tawar, Jerantut, Pahang. His father's name is Tok Gajah or well known as Imam Perang Rasu and his mother's name is Mahda who is the daughter of Tok Kaut in Burau.

It was said that Mat Kilau learnt the Malay art of self-defense and spiritual knowledge only after his marriage and one of his masters was his father. Mat Kilau also studied religion and spiritual matters under the tutelage of Haji Osman, also known as Haji Muntuk, the religious man who later was to be appointed as Mufti of Pahang.

When he was in his 20s, the British came and took over the State of Pahang. With their arrival, they brought discord among the State's chieftains; While some were in favour of their presence, there were others who did not take kindly to the British intervention in Pahang's administrative affairs.

The Resident of Pahang J.P. Rodger, introduced a few new rules and regulations which were against the traditional values of the people. The Malay leaders were forbidden from collecting taxes but they were paid pence. Every citizen of Pahang had to pay land tax and they also had to obtain licence in order to search goods in the jungle.

Mat Kilau started the rebellion against the British imperialism when he was 44 years old. This was happened after British attacked at Kampong Budu on the Lipis River.

Mat Kilau name are etched in the nation’s history as those responsible for the Lubuk Terua war where they attacked a police post set up by British. Mat Kilau ambushed and killed five British soldiers at the security post. This incident happened because British caught 3 of Dato Bahaman's men while they were searching for goods in the jungle without licence.

A few more soldiers were hired but received the same fate. Through the open revolt, Mat Kilau and Dato Bahaman’s followers began to increase, when 600 supporters from Bentong, joined them.

Following the incident, Sir Hugh Clifford, labelled him as a rebel and ordered his captured. Then Mat Kilau had to flee to Kelantan and Terengganu. He went to change his names several times like Mat Siam, Mat Dahan and Mat Dadu. Mat Kilau died on Aug 1970, at his home Kampong Batu 5. He died at the age of 122 years old.
Mat Kilau - a legendary Malay warrior

The most popular articles