A history of the term Kadazandusun
Published on: Sunday, August 07, 2016
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By Tan Sri Dr Herman Luping
THE Kadazandusun Cultural Association has a long and varied history in Sabah.

Before it was called the Kadazandusun Cultural Association, it was known as The Society of the Kadazan Community and before that the Kadazan Society-Penampang. The first Secretary General was Datuk Richard Yapp and the President was Datuk Donald Stephens. The Society of Kadazans organisation was established in the 1960s and inaugurated at the community centre in Kota Kinabalu.

At the time, leaders from the interior residences did not quite agree for the term Kadazan to be used for the association and there was the possibility that the Society of the Kadazan would split.

A meeting of all same speech community leaders (Kadazan) from all over was held at the Kota Kinabalu Community Centre. Datuk Ayub Aman, a leader from Keningau, was present at this meeting and in an interview with him by this writer, he said that the name of the Association was debated at length. Some in favour of just the term Kadazan and others for it to include Dusun as the name of the organisation.

This movement was led by a splinter group led by Datuk Sundang called Pasok Momogun.

The historical events that took place in the 1960s were conveyed to this writer by Ayub.

During the debate Stephens (later to be Tun Fuad Stephens) and Sundang decided to leave the community centre and have a short break for coffee at the nearby Hotel Jesselton. Before leaving they instructed those inside the community centre to continue the debate around the name.

After many suggestions as to it’s name, those present decided and agreed that the name for the association would be Kadazan-dusun to include those who wanted to be called Dusun, especially those from the same speech community in the interior and Tuaran.

According to Ayub Aman, when the two leaders Sundang and Stephens came back from the coffee break, the question was asked of the delegates what they would call their association and it was agreed that it would be Society of Kadazandusuns and that the term Penampang would be dropped. With this decided the Pasok Momogun group then rejoined the Society of Kadazandusuns.

As time went on, the term Murut was also included so the association was then called the Kadazandusun-Murut association.

(later to have the term Murut added). The late Yap remained the SG for the society until the early 1970s and when he was appointed the State Minister after Sabah joined the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, his position was taken over by the late Datuk Peter Mojuntin.

During Mojuntin’s time as head there was a consensus among the same speech communities that they wanted to be called Kadazandusun. They were united by their belief that they should have just one name.

The name of the Kadazandusun became the rallying call for unity among the same speech people of Sabah.

The people of the interior from Keningau, Tenom and Ranau had all fallen in line and accepted the term Kadazandusun.

So did the leaders from Tuaran who had originally preferred their name, Lotud. This Tuaran group was led by the late Tun Adidan.

The term Kadazan, in the Kadazan language, means, “the people”. In fact this term is used by the Bobohizan in their rinait, or prayer. This is emphasised by Dr Benedict Topin when he talks about the history of our people.

The term “dusun” used by the people of the interior refers to living on the farm, so the term Kadazandusun, hence means “people of the farm”.

The question of Kadazandusun identity was raised again recently and some have wanted to call themselves Momogun.

The present Secretary General of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) party is Datuk Jonny Mositun who says that there should be no attempt to split the group again and that the Kadazandusun name should be kept.

He says there are reasons to believe that the hundreds of people who are members of the KDCA agree with him and that the name should remain Kadazandusun-Murut and this writer agrees with him.


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