Tenom – The Origins of Kampung Baru Jumpa

Once upon a time, this village had no name. The land was inhabited by the Murut people, but only for a little while. We don’t know the story for sure, but it was shared to us that while the Muruts were clearing the forest, they came across some paddy fields. They did not know who had planted them, but they harvested the paddy anyway. As they ate the produce of the land, they began to fall ill. Many of them died. Being animists, the Muruts believed that the plants must have been inhabited by spirits. They could not live peacefully there so they left the area and moved upriver.

Around the same time, the Lundayeh from Indonesia came to work with the Chinese taukays in a neighbouring area called Cinta Mata. They were befriended by a rich Banjarese man named Idrus. Idrus was also known as Aduk as he had lived in Sabah for a long time. One day, he brought the Lundayeh men to explore that same piece of land. At first, the Lundayeh were fearful because the land had been inhabited by the Muruts and they didn’t want any trouble. But once they were convinced that the Muruts had abandoned the area, a small group of Lundayehs decided to move in.

When the Muruts heard about this, they speculated that this group of Lundayehs would die within three years if they too had no god of their own. But the Lundayeh – they believed in God. Although their knowledge of their God was not deep, they believed that their God was with them. They did not fall ill when they ate the fruit of the land. In fact, they flourished in that land!

As Aduk allocated more of this land to other Lundayeh families, word of this fertile area spread far and wide. Soon, even the Lundayeh from across the border came to settle in this growing village. They came from over 20 different small villages in Indonesia, and could all trace their common lineage. But due to their nomadic lifestyle, most of them had never met. They kept telling one another, “Di sini baru kita jumpa” which means, “It was here that we finally met.” And that is why they named this place Kampung Baru Jumpa.

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