The last headhunters of Borneo

Irwan Majid

ONE of the largest indigenous groups of Sabah, the Murut people is made up of 29 sub-ethnic groups, including the Tagol, Timugon, Paluan, Nabaai, Kolor, Serudong, Bokan and Tangala.

The name “Murut” means “hill people”. 

A large percentage of the Murut communities reside in the southwest interior of Sabah, in the districts of Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan, and Pensiangan, along the Sapulut and Padas rivers.

The last indigenous group of Sabah to renounce headhunting, the Murut were known as the silent headhunters and called “pengait”, or the hook.

Up until the 1960s, they beheaded their foes and collected the heads as trophies. – November 16, 2019.

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