Former DCM Dunstan Endawi dies aged 77

Date Posted : Saturday 12-Apr-2014

KUCHING: Former Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand Datuk Amar Dunstan Endawi anak Enchana passed away peacefully early yesterday morning at his hometown Saratok District Hospital. 

Endawi who was also a former Sarawak National Party (SNAP) president was 77. He left behind his wife Datin Paduka Piling Endawi and five children Nancy, Saa, Seman, Jeti and Entrie, in-laws, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Originally from Munggu Embawang longhouse, in Malupa, Krian, Saratok which was also my late father Salok’s longhouse of birth, Endawi, was the first Iban to be appointed High Commissioner of Malaysia to any country – later Dato Sri Daniel Tajem became the second Iban to be appointed to such post and now Kennedy Jawan is the third. Tajem was appointed High Commissioner to New Zealand whereas Jawan is currently High Commissioner to South Africa.

Endawi, then 26, was a member of the first Sarawak Cabinet in 1963 under the late Dato Stephen Kalong Ningkan (later Tan Sri Datuk Amar). He was later Deputy Chief Minister under Tun Haji Abdul Rahman Yaakub and was Acting Chief Minister for a week during the former’s trip overseas. 

My earliest memory of Endawi was when he held the post of a councillor in the Kalaka District Council, Saratok in the early sixties. He used to put me on his shoulder as I was very thin and light when he came to visit us at our farm house at Bukit Tinggi, just a twenty-minute walk from Munggu Embawang longhouse. He was very close to my family, especially to my elder brother Edward Jelani and during his immediate post NZ appointment, to this writer.  His mother Rinya and my father Salok were second cousins. 

Known for doing things ‘my way’ and iron will, Endawi said a few times while still alive that he wished to lie in state for seven days upon his demise. So the family obliges and will hold the funerary night on Friday next week in his newly completed home near Saratok town. The burial will be on Saturday next week in Saratok after a requiem mass at St Peter’s Church. At press time, his remains were yet to be brought from the mortuary of Saratok District Hospital, said a source. 

His demise is not only a great loss to his family but also to Krian constituents whom he represented as state assemblyman since the formation of Malaysia till his NZ appointment not to mention to Sarawakians statewide. To us who are his relatives and friends we have lost a dear and caring friend and cousin. Farewell and rest in peace my cousin and friend.

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