A Huguan Siou is useless if not Member of Parliament
Published on: Sunday, May 23, 2021
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THE Paramount Leader (Huguan Siou) of the Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and Rungus community should be a Member of Parliament (MP) to be able to represent their interests in Parliament and rub shoulders with his MP peers who are Prime Minister, and other members of the Cabinet that make policies affecting Malaysians.

Therefore, I disagree with the views expressed by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Vice President Gundohing Japiril Suhaimin that the Huguan Siou mustn’t be a politician (as reported in DE May 2, Pg. 2).

I also disagree with Gundohing Paul Kadau that the true definition of Huguan Siou is unclear (DE May 9, Forum Pg. 14.)

Gundohing Raymond Tombung has written that Huguan Siou stands for “the bravest of the brave.” He wrote that, “In reality, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan has been a Huguan Siou many times more vocal, mobile and braver than his elder sibling! 

If we have no other option for a truly useful and bravest-of-the-brave Huguan Siou, it might as well be Dr Jeffrey himself!”

Dr Jeffrey has been the one persistently and loudly fighting for the rights of not just the indigenous peoples of Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan but also the rights of all the peoples of Sabah as well.

Gone are the days when leaders had to fight with weapons, now they have to show not only brains but also by words and by deeds, how they are leading their community to a brighter future.

Hence, the Huguan Siou must be a MP to be able to speak on behalf of the community in the Dewan Rakyat, the highest legislative body in Parliament of the Federation of Malaysia.

As for why many KDMR Generations X, Y and Z have little affinity for the relevancy of the Huguan Siou institution, if any,  “respect for leadership and leaders must be earned.” Leadership can be demonstrated by strong and effective advocacy for the community in the Dewan Rakyat. 

Even the appointment of senators depends on a ruling political party’s nomination. 

Dr Jeffrey is the current Keningau MP after his party defeated PBS in the constituency that used to be represented by Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The political eclipse and leadership presence obscurity of Huguan Siou Pairin who retired from the political scene in 2018 has made his community, especially youngsters, to question the relevancy of his leadership. 

In 2012, Dr Jeffrey when launching his Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) in Kg. Tombilidon,  Pitas, was officially made a “Randavi om Gigindasan Tulun Sabah” (The Paramount Leader and Hope for the People of Sabah) by his Tombonuo native supporters in Pitas, near Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili’s constituency. 

According to the local leader Maklin Masiau, the title has the same meaning as “Huguan Siou.”

Jeffrey also did not object when in 2016, he was made “Huguan Siou Lundu Mirongod” (Brave Paramount Thinker).  

It is not up to Dr Jeffrey to refuse the title in modesty now, or so as to say that he was not interested. 

Or as some of his supporters put it, being indignant having to contest for it with Maximus when it should be a shoo-in as Dr Jeffrey is a deputy president of the KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA) with so many other titles and recognitions compared to blood relative Maximus who was anointed by the present Huguan Siou Pairin to lead PBS.

The Huguan Siou Office is an institutionalised Paramount Leadership of the Koisaan or KadazanDusun Cultural Association (KDCA). 

The power and responsibility to bestow the “Huguan Siou” rests with the KDCA, which, upon the vacation of the Huguan Siou’s Office, may hold an Extraordinary Delegate’s Conference to specifically resolve the installation of the succeeding Huguan Siou.

Although Pairin had said that Sabah natives can achieve much more if they are united in fighting for their rights, his ability to realise that unity was found wanting, and his speaking attendance record in the Dewan Rakyat has been disappointing.

 He failed to keep his underlings from forming break-away parties to challenge PBS and could not ensure Upko did not defect to Parti Warisan Sabah-led bloc after they had signed an agreement to back the Tan Sri Musa Aman government that collapsed. 

In the ensuing counterpower grab that led to the state election, Sabah was blamed for starting the third Covid-19 wave in Malaysia which is still surging to date.

In the past, previous Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony had also denied that he was after the title of Huguan Siou being the chairman of State Kaamatan main organising committee that had side-lined the incumbent Huguan Siou in its organisation process in 2018. 

Datuk Dr James Ongkili had proposed the title of Huguan Siou be accorded to the Chief Minister of Sabah. He served as deputy to the then CM Tan Sri Harris Salleh. That proposal was rejected by the community.

Gundohing Richard Libun Adou, a former Vice President of KDCA, had written that the new generation of KadazanDusun are hungry for real leadership because their original Huguan Siou Pairin, had become weak, ineffective and no longer acts as a fighter for the rights of the KDMs. 

To them, their present Huguan Siou is just a puppet with no teeth or courage to say and do what needs to be said and done.

It was rummoured that he was offered the opportunity to be a Federal Cabinet Minister by previous PM Tun Abdullah Badawi, which if true would have been fantastic as he would be able to bring the aspiration of the community to the Federal Cabinet directly.

However, he was reportedly dissuaded by one of the Chinese leaders in PBS and settled for a Deputy CM post under Musa. What a shame.

This was paintful to the community and a betrayal to his own people, if true.

Ex-university lecturer


Flashback: Forum on May, 9, 2021

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