By RICHARD LIBUN ADOU
THE CURRENT issue arising from the so-called declaration of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Huguan Siou has another angle to it that the people of Sabah need to be aware of. But first, I say there is NO need for Anwar or PKR to apologise to KDCA. In fact I really feel the KDCA and its president, the Huguan Siou, should instead apologise to the Kadazandusuns for failing to serve them.
Jonathan Yasin and Datuk Wilfred Bumburing have now denied that Anwar was installed as Huguan Siou of Malaysia . But my purpose here is not to argue on that point. What I want to state is that there is a powerful reason why Anwar was declared, (oh, okay, given a sash that says) “Huguan Siou of Malaysia .” The reason this happened is that the new generation of Kadazandusuns are hungry for real leadership because their original Huguan Siou, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, has become weak, ineffective and no longer acts as a fighter for the rights of the Kadazandusuns and Muruts (KDMs). To them, their Huguan Siou is a just a puppet with no teeth or courage to say and do what need to be said and done.
The title of “Huguan Siou,” I think, was chosen by the PKR leaders of Paginatan because they wanted Anwar to be seen mainly as a new leader of the KDMs. They could have chosen another word for “paramount leader” but unfortunately, the Kadazandusun language doesn’t have any other word for that has equal weight as “huguan siou.” Maybe it would have been a better decision to use a Malay title, like “Pahlawan Reformasi Malaysia ” or something, but it would still be not as meaningful as “Huguan Siou” in the context of Sabah . Unfortunately, this decision rattled a lot of people. They have forgotten that the words simply mean “paramount leader” or “highest leader.” Is the name really sacred? Is the KDCA the only body who has the exclusive right to use the name which is in the KDCA’s Kadazan Dusun Malay-English Dictionary? What if another Kadazandusun association wants to give their president the same title? I believe in the old days each village in Penampang had its own huguan siou, so they were more than one huguan sious walking around in those days!
Whatever the arguments going on about this, one thing is clear: the new generation of KDMs are crying out for a new and dynamic leadership which is strong and courageous in fighting for their cause. They need something new which fits the needs of the KDMs in the new globalized world. They feel that Pairin has betrayed them by being on a political platform which to most of them is against their spirit for rights and dignity.
Many of them also feel that the Huguan Siou shouldn’t be a politician, but someone who serves his people socially and culturally without any political affiliation. As it is Pairin is a Member of Parliament for Keningau, assemblyman for Tambunan and a deputy chief minister. With these responsibilities he has no more time to serve as Huguan Siou, or even as president of the KDCA. And because of this the KDCA has become weak and inactive. It no longer works aggressively to pursue the objectives listed in its constitution. It is as if KDCA has lost its spirit because its Huguan Siou is no longer osiou (brave) enough to do and say the right things because it has become subservient to a greater master. KDCA has become so quiet and lethargic, making noise only during the Pesta Kaamatan. A former deputy president of KDCA had prepared a strategic plan for KDCA to become more active and productive, but this was never implemented.
This is so unfortunate because the Kadazandusuns are having their vision confused and blurred in a very challenging time. At one time the association was at least producing a good number of books, but now this productivity has stopped. It needs to organize the young members to compliment their knowledge and skills, or at least boost their morale and spirit and be proud of KDCA and their Huguan Siou. There is a need to groom them for leadership in their community. There is also a need for documentation works to record countless aspects of the cultural heritage which is fast disappearing, It cannot use the excuse that KDCA doesn’t have the money because most activities, like producing CDs of traditional musical performance, need very little money, but such CDs can be sold to tourists for good income. Also Pairin and Dr. Maximus Ongkili if they wanted it aggressively, can get government funding for many worthy causes, such as youth leadership seminars, or cottage industry courses. Sadly these are not done by KDCA or the Koisaan Co-operative because of a lack of dynamic and creative leadership.
In fact by now the Koisaan Co-operative should already have a franchise of KDM-owned minimarkets all over Sabah offering discount prices to KDMs. The immigrant people such as the Bugis and Pakistanis have their respective bodies to help their own people go into business but we the so-called proud natives are unable to do this.
Even the management of the Pesta Kaamatan at the Hongkod ground had overlooked the need to help our own people as proven by the mistake of charging extremely high rental for the stalls and canopies during the Pesta Kaamatan. The rent are so high that many sellers had to share stalls. This is against the spirit of helping our own people.
It will hurt the feelings of many KDMs when someone says the Paramount Leader may have become a No-amount Leader, but this is the reality of our fate as a people. We don’t dare tell our leaders there need to step down no matter how ineffective he has become, thinking that such an advise would go against the sacred, or that it will cause ousung (cursed for going against an elder). But the truth is the concept of ousung is dragging us back into the stone age.
(NOTE : Richard Libun Adou, former Vice President of KDCA)