Unko is officially launched
Published on: Saturday, August 27, 2022
By: Daily Express
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Debate on motion whether to be called Dusun or Kadazan. G.S Sundang (pic)

1960: The United National Kadazan Organisation (Unko) was formally launched at the Kadazan National Congress attended by delegates from 25 areas at the Jesselton Community Centre. 

There was some debate on the motion pertaining to the formation of Unko but the real debate was on the motion by the Menggatal delegate that “the name Kadazan is the true and correct name of the people living in Sabah and formerly known as Dusuns.” 

Opening the debate, Amadeus Leong from Papar said he had never known any Kadazans to refer themselves as Dusuns. He said as a child when others referred to him as Dusun, it was in the sense that he was “uncivilised and backward.” He questioned refering to themselves through a “Malay” term, instead of using one of their own, which is Kadazan. 

He was followed by Ganie Gilong of Ranau who said many of his people still thought of themselves as Dusuns, but said he would be happy to abide  with the decision of the conference as to which name to accept. 

Another delegate OKK Sundang said instead of having a controversy on what name to adopt, it would be better to use an alternative. He then suggested “Pasok Momogun” as it signified “people of the country.” 

The leader of the Kiulu delegation related a long story about the word Kadazan or Kedayan and that it was believed that Kedayan meant people who are bodyguards of the Sultan or even slaves. 

In his summing up, Unko President Donald Stephens said the differences in opinion over the name of the people was because of the Kadazan people’s ill-fortune in the past hundreds of years when they were driven all over the country and became the subject of exploitation. 

“The time has come when we shall decide what name we are to have not others,” he said. 

“When the votes were taken, only six delegates voted against the new term “Kadazan”. 

“From now we shall be known as Kadazan,” Stephens said to long and prolonged applause, as delegates threw papers into the air in delight. 

The Unko Constitution was then read clause by clause in Kadazan and English. The other Unko office bearers were Ganie Gilong and GS Sundang (Vice Presidents). 

Stephens said: “Those who would run us (Kadazans) down; those who would relegate us to third class citizenship must take notice that we will not accept such treatment. We have no desire to be superior to anyone...and no desire to be inferior to anyone.” 

He warned the conference that it was not easy to keep the Kadazan people united because there were forces at work which tried to break them apart. “It is well that we should recognise this fact and be always on guard against those who would poison our unity.” 

He also spoke on the question of a Kadazan political party and the greater Malaysia plan of Malayan Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. 

He said while he did not agree (together with Azahari of Brunei and Ong Kee Hui of Sarawak) on the Tunku’s proposal, it should not be lightly dismissed. 

“How can we accept something we do not know...how can we agree to become a State of Malaya when we do not know what this entails? Are we to change our masters, will such a merger mean independence for us quickly or serfdom forever...these are the questions which we ask our-selves,” he said. 

He hoped the Consultative Committee he formed together with the leaders of the Sarawak delegation and the Singapore Government would discuss the question of Malaysia fully. 

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