The Sibu Oldest Muslim Cemetery has been chosen as one of the 9 points in the recently launched Sibu Heritage Trail and I decided to give the place a visit since I never knew that a section within the Sibu Town Square Phase II is actually a cemetery.
The monument is not difficult to spot. It is located behind Paramount Hotel and adjacent to the Lau King Howe Memorial Museum. In fact I come across this place many times before without realizing its historical value.
The white structure erected here was built to commemorate the old Muslim cemetery and the early settlement of the Malay community in Sibu when Islam started to established in Sarawak during the rein of Brunei Sultanate in 1599.
The white structure has 4 corners with each corner erected with a plaque depicting the historical facts of the early Malay settlement in Sibu.
At its centre, there is a star shaped stone engraved with 21 known names of those buried at the site. It is estimated about 70 people could had been buried here before the Japanese Occupational in 1941. The burial ground was then no longer used after that due to serious erosion on the river bank.
Outside the monument, stand two giant sized Ficus SPP species tree. It is believed that the trees were planted from branches used as a temporary tombstone for a victim who died from the bite of a venomous snake. The trees were alredy there before the construction of the Brooke Fort in 1862.
With a few old tombstones below the trees, there is no doubt now that this area was once a Muslim burial ground.
The burial ground now has a beautiful permanent barricade around it which reflect its historical value which I reckon not known to most of the locals here.