Whether to be called Kadazandusun or Momogun: Kurup
Published on: Tuesday, May 03, 2016
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Kota Kinabalu: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said it is up to the people to decide if they wish to be collectively identified as Kadazandusun or Momogun, instead of being stuck with the opinion of a "top few." He proposed that a survey be carried out and cautioned that personal opinions regarding the matter would only cause disunity among the indigenous communities.

"Those are only the opinions of some people at the top. If you go down (to the communities) you may find different views altogether. So I suggest we ask them first on what terminology they prefer to be used to identify themselves," he said.

He said the people must never be imposed with any decision without prior consultation and their lack of participation in the process would only prolong the debate with no end in sight.

He warned that it could even further split the communities.

"Actually it's already proven for so many years. When you talk about race and you have someone putting forward an opinion and another person challenges it for he has a different view, then there'll be no end to it. For me, it's better to ask the rakyat," he said after launching the Kadazan Society Sabah's Hontog Kaamatan 2016, Monday, representing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who was unable to make it due to other commitments.

The fresh debate on what the non-Muslim natives in Sabah should call themselves began after newly-installed Momogun National Congress (MNC) President Datuk Henrynus Amin proposed that they be collectively listed as Momogun in government forms, instead of "lain lain" or "others". He was referring to the Dusunic, Paitanic and Murutic speaking communities while naturalised citizens like Filipino Bajau/Visaya, Indonesian Bugis/Tator/Timorese and others should be placed under "lain-lain."

The Federal Government recently decided to do away with "lain-Lain" when referring to Sarawak natives in forms after protest by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

However, responding to Henrynus, Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Sec-Gen Datuk John Anthony reiterated that it rejected use of the term "Momogun" to officially describe the Kadazandusun people and criticized hi, for "playing with words." He said Momogun was just a Kadazan word to imply someone living in an area irrespective of whether they are Kadazandusun or other races.

"To say that Momogun can be our generic name to replace the Kadazandusun, I feel will just create another debate and there will never be an end to this matter."

John claimed the term Kadazan was already in use even before the British were here. "KDCA's official stand is very clear and simple: that it rejects the term Momogun for official use and would rather stick to the name of Kadazandusun as was decided and agreed to by the Kadazandusun elders and leaders."

John also said the preference for the term Kadazandusun was agreed in a signed declaration between Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan in his capacity as the President of KDCA and the late Datuk Mark Koding as President of USDA in 1989.

Pairin too insisted that the term Kadazandusun must not be changed and cautioned that the search for new identities will only serve to further divide and weaken the community's resolve and self-determination. He called on all parties to honour the Kadazan resolution of 1961 and the Kadazandusun resolution of 1989 during the PBS State Government.

"We were once labelled by outsiders as Dusuns and based on our self-determination we corrected our history and declared that we were Kadazans in 1961 and (then) reaffirmed ourselves as Kadazandusun in 1989.

We have decided we are Kadazandusuns and that our language, too, is Kadazandusun. So let us grow as Kadazandusuns," he reportedly said.

He said there is no better or more dignified replacement for Kadazandusun as their common identity as the foremost unique indigenous peoples of Sabah.

The preference for the term Kadazan to be used instead of Dusun was mooted by late Donald Stephens (later Tun Fuad upon conversion to Islam) in 1961 but this was opposed by the Dusuns, who felt they were comfortable with the term Dusun and believed the latter was doing so to justify his claim for the sole non-Muslim natives slot in the imminent Malaysia negotiations. The Muslim natives slot was represented by Tun Mustapha while the Chinese by Datuk Khoo Siak Choo.

The Dusuns at that time only recognized the late Interior native chief Sedomon, who initially opposed the formation of Malaysia, as their leader.


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