Kota Kinabalu: Reaching a compromise on the tagline to identify the Kadazan and Dusun is the first step towards uniting the community, now basically divided to three factions, said a veteran Kadazandusun politician.
Tan Sri Herman Luping said his book entitled “Indigenous Ethnic Communities of Sabah: The Kadazandusun” launched recently, among others, tries to show the origin of the name of Kadazan and the reason for its fusion into the Kadazandusun.
He said the use of the word Kadazan, which means the people, to identify the community was actually voted and debated before being approved during the inauguration of the United National Kadazan Organisation (Unko) under the late Tun Fuad Stephens who was also the first modern day Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) in the 1950s.
The term Kadazan is used by the Suku Tangaah Kadazandusun or Penampang and Papar districts.
The name Dusun meaning orchard or farm, on the other hand was imported as it was coined by the Brunei nobles who, unaware of the historical account of the term Kadazan, used the term for collection of many suku or tribes of the same speech communities for convenience and it was also later adopted by the British colonist.
The tribes living in the interior of Sabah such as Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau prefer to call themselves Dusun.
But, he said the Dusun faction refused to be called Kadazan, which was further “encouraged by certain people because a united Kadazan and Dusun will be too strong”.
The second modern day Huguan Siou, Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan together with leaders of the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA), which he headed decided to fuse the Kadazan and Dusun to become Kadazandusun that also saw the changing of the association’s name to Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA).
This issue was also discussed in his book.
“The idea is to agree that Kadazandusun should be the tagline for the community. It will be a retrograde state (to insist on using Kadazan).
What I am saying is we must compromise and that is what I am trying to say in this book,” he said.
Luping who is a former Usno Deputy Chief Minister and a State Attorney-General during the PBS government, said in his book’s introduction:
“This book is written not to show the differences amongst our diverse ethnic indigenous communities; rather, it is an attempt to show unity and harmony amongst them”.
On the perception that the split among the Kadazandusun community was due to the Huguan Siou also being held by a political personality as in the case of Stephens and Pairin, he said the perception was “short-sighted”.
“The time will come eventually when the person appointed as the Huguan Siou will not have anything to do with politics,” he said, adding that at the moment it could not be helped that leaders of the community are also involved in politics.
“We live on hope and we have to be optimistic that the people will eventually unite but first we have to agree on the name (because) at present (even that) we are still fighting,” he said.
Nonetheless, Luping said just like other races there are bound to be divisions and the Kadazandusun community is certainly no exception.
On what makes his book different from others that had already been published out there on the same subject, he said he wrote it from a different approach and that most of the people who had written on the subject were foreigners.
“It is not that I don’t appreciate their works and I have also credited them (previous authors) in my book as we have learn a lot from them,” he said.
He added that Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim had said when launching the book on Aug. 8 that “it was about time for our own writers to write to complement and supplement the existing works”.
“This is what encouraged me to do this book, more so the Prime Minister wants us bring up relationship of the various ethnic groups and races in the country,” he said.
His 10-chapter book starts with a brief presentation of Sabah’s history before touching on the 13 tribes of the Kadazandusun indigenous community, Adat or Customs and religion, the Native Court (established in 1953 by the British Colonial Administration) as well as a presentation on how a Kadazandusun peasant used to live and the many changes that have taken place since the formation of Malaysia.
The hardcover book published by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture Malaysia had been printed for 1,000 copies.