Saturday, May 10, 2014

Kapit (加帛)- largest district In Sarawak

Kapit, a fabulous riverine town was founded by the White Rajah Charles Brooke in 1880s. It’s strategically located along the mighty 563 km Rejang River, the longest in Malaysia. The village then was a garrison against invasion by Ibans and other tribal group who were constantly extending their territories.

A fort was placed there to prevent the Iban from going upriver to attack the Orang Ulu settlements. Initially called Fort Kapit, the fort was renamed Fort Sylvia after the wird of Rajah Vyner Brooke.

It is the largest district and the seventh division out of 11 in Sarawak. It took more than two hours by express boats to reach Kapit from Sibu town, the third biggest in Sarawak.  

Historically, Hokkien Chinese came to Kapit in 1880 to open up virgin forest in Kapit followed by Ka Chinese in 1906 and later Fuzhou Chinese in 1919.

They came to Kapit initially as explorers. Life then was simple; they grew rubber trees and pepper, traded treated rubber sheet, rotan, and forest tree seeds. 

The Ibans including Kayan and Kenyah were mostly farming landlords owning durian, “Dabai” (popular known as black olive) or (Canarium Odontophllum) and rambutan orchards besides growing cash crop like rubber and cocoa, including practicing shifting cultivation-padi planting. These popular fruits season peaked between September and December yearly.

Farmers transport their products for sale at the colorful daily wet market.  When there are plenty of fruits, it will also mean wild boar season, killed and sold as fresh meat, a splendid source of protein.  River fishes like “Semah”, “Lanjong”, “Empurau” and “Patin” are available but very costly. 

Mostly women tribal folks will peddle their fruits, vegetables and wild jungle products including animals at the market. Apart from these traditional forest products, beautiful and awesome basketry items are also sold at this market.  Visitors can be seen bargaining for items made by the Orang Ulu community such as the ladies head gear, “Parang Ilang”, bangles, bracelets including beautiful costumes and jewelries.
As Chinese treated education of their future generation as priority, hence in 1929, they built the only Chinese primary school known as FuNam Primary School. In 1935, they set up the "Tai San Tin" association to take care of the welfare of Chinese there.

In 1941, during Japanese Invasion, Kapit only had two rows of 37 shop houses. But during landing of allied force the 37 units of shop houses were flattened by bombs. Chinese had to build temporary atap houses (houses made of atap leaves) to continue doing business.

In 1950, 42 units of shop houses were built in Kapit old market. Now Kapit has more than 200 units of shop houses in new and old markets.

On 2nd April 1973 Kapit, Belaga and Song formed the seven division of Sarawak. Civic Centre was built in 1972 which houses the indoor badminton court. On the side of Civic Centre, there was an open air sepak takraw court.

In 1973, a new post office was built to provide postal services as well as to convenience payment of water bills, telephone bills as well as deposit and remittance. On 31st August 1977, Government Building near to Lily Pond was officially open for business. In 1978 Government Hall was built but unfortunately it was burned down in 1990. In 1980 a government building was built in new bazzar. 

Kapit's old hospital was built in 1960. It was a church but because of financial difficulty hence it was taken over by the authority and converted into a hospital in 1974. A new 5-storey hospital was built in June 1996. To link the proposed Belitik Satellite town, government has built the 5 Million Ringgits worth of Sungai Kapit Bridge. 

Kapit is a small place and everything is within an easy stroll. The town development is centered within a five kilometer boundary. The demand on shop houses is high.

The only way to reach Kapit is by Rejang River as there is no road and air access to the town. Many express boats are available daily from Sibu 5.45 am till 14.30 pm whereas from Kapit is 6.40 am till 1515 pm. The journey from Sibu to Kapit is about 3 hour but from Kapit to Sibu is 2 hour 30 minute as the river flows approximately 563 km into Kapit and then to the South China Sea. The one way fares cost RM30 person for first class and RM25 for economy class.

The only Air service was closed due to bad demand.

                                                                       Kapit District Council

Kapit poter

Kapit Town

                                                    Fu Nam Primary School

Kapit Boat

                                                                          Kapit Map

                                                                Kapit Porter carry motor



                                                                          Town Square

                                          Kapit Wet Market

                                                    Fu Nam Primary School

                                    Fu Nam Primary School

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