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Ritual to mark the relocation of Batu Sumpah
Published on: Tuesday, July 24, 2018
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Ritual to mark the relocation of Batu Sumpah
Keningau: A Momosik ceremony seeking permission to relocate the historic Batu Sumpah or Oath Stone was carried out by a Bobolian (shaman) at the District Office compound, here, Saturday.The ceremony was held according to tradition with the District Chief, Native Chiefs, Native Chief Representatives (WKAN) and the village heads assigned to wear traditional clothes of the Kadazan Dusun and Murut (KDM) communities.

The political leaders present also wore traditional dress as a mark of respect and to abide with custom.

The ceremony saw the sacrificing of two animals each, including a live white chicken and a pig.

It began with chanting by the Bobolian, WKAN Muri Gulim before the stone. The livestock were then slaughtered and the blood sprayed onto the Oath Stone.

Muri was assisted by a community leader, WKAN Joseph Mitah. District Chief, Orang Kaya-Kaya (OKK) Mohd Amir Datuk Arif said the Bobolian used a live white chicken and a pig, and slaughtered both animals.

The Oath Stone would be moved from the District Office compound next month to the compound of the District Officer's official house near the Keningau Heritage Museum area.

"At the moment the site for the transfer of the Oath Stone is being prepared and when the site is ready then the ground dredging work to place the Oath Stone will be done.

"It may take time because it needs to be done with care," he said, adding that shortly after that, work to lift the Oath Stone would be carried out with full tradition being observed.

He hoped locals and tourists would come to witness the ceremony for the permanent placing of the Oath Stone.

Among the witnesses at the Momosik ceremony were Pensiangan Member of Parliament Arthur Joseph Kurup, officers and staff of the Archives Department, Heritage Museum and Native Court.

The Oath Stone is the only such agreement in the world where the demands of the natives were consented to by the Federal Government, in exchange for their support for the formation of Malaysia on 16.9.1963.

This was because the interior natives led by OKK Sedomon were against the idea of Malaysia even after a year of its formation.

Then first appointed Chief Minister Donald (later Tun Fuad) Stephens then despatched the Resident of Keningau then, Tan Sri Richard Lind to find out how they can be convinced to support newly-formed Malaysia.

The natives said they do not subscribe to any written agreement that could be discarded into the bin by future leaders but only the erection of a stone with three of the 20-Point demands etched into it, namely religious freedom, respect for native laws and adat and for lands to come under State jurisdiction.

A suitable boulder from the Pegalan river was then extracted and a plaque with the three guarantees were affixed. Its unveiling on Aug. 31, 1964 was also symbolic because that was the day in which the original date for the formation of Malaysia was supposed to take place the year earlier until delayed by Indonesian and Philippine protests, both of which were against the two Borneo states going under Malaya's jurisdiction in the new Malaysia.

The initial ceremony was witnessed by the first agong. However, in the mid-1980s the plaque on the stone which had the sacred words "Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin (Malaysian Government Guarantees" went missing and was replaced with another that did not carry these three important words.

The Federal Government later agreed to reinstate the original plaque or the key wordings, after it was found, and for the stone to be moved to a new site. - Johan Aziz



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