Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Cultural associations must carry out what it was set up for, not split the ethnic tribes

KOTA MARUDU: Ethnically-based cultural associations are good and welcomed, but its leaders must not use such organisations as a platform to create factions, split up the community or to dwell on politics. 

This advice came from Kota Marudu Member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Ongkili when he launched the newly formed Persatuan Rungus Bersatu Sabah (PRBS) on Saturday.

He said factions and squabbling among tribe leaders would not be helping to the development of the community, as they would be spending too much time with politics and trying to outdo one another.

“It is my hope, as well as that of the government, that the leaders of these associations focus on promoting culture to the young and assisting the government in conducting documentation, specifically on the Rungus tribe,” he said.

PRBS would probably the sixth such body looking after a community of some 100,000 to 150,000 statewide, the majority living in Pitas, Matunggong, Kudat and Beluran.

This is in addition to the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) which likes to look upon itself as the mother umbrella to the more than 40 indigenous ethnic communities in Sabah.

Apart from PRBS, the Rungus also have the active Sabah Momogun Rungus Association or SAMORA, which is headed by Matunggong Assemblyman, Jelaini Hamdan, who happens to be political rivals with Maximus.

Then there is also the Rungus Cultural Association, Persatuan Rungus Malaysia, Sabah Rungus Cultural and Heritage Association (SARUCHA).

Dr Maximus remarked that having six bodies to look after a small community may seem to be one too many, and he hoped that its leaders would not create divisions among themselves.

“As long as the members of each association can work well together, able to maintain the spirit of Mitatabang and work hard to achieve their respective goals, to me this is an opportunity to foster unity within the large community,” he said when interviewed by the reporters after gracing the occasion at Matunggong Cultural House.

According to its PRBS president, Makinsos Nawai, the association was set up to represent the Rungus community in the State as well as to promote the tribe's culture, and to foster unity, goodwill as well as social development among the people within the same tribe.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Pan Borneo highway project, Dr. Maximus said he is assured that the recent announcement made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Malaysia Day to include the proposed coastal from Tuaran-Kota Belud-Kota Marudu-Kudat as part of the highway will help improve the local economy in various sectors such as fisheries, agriculture and tourism.

“This is a good development plan to improve the economic viability of northern Sabah as it will encourage exports and marketing activities,” he added.


Source - Kinabalu Today