Not apt to term all Sabahan natives Momogun: KDCA
22 Apr 2016

Penampang: KDCA Secretary General Datuk John Anthony has shot down the suggestion by Momogun National Congress (MNC) President Datuk Henrynus Amin, stating that it was impractical to term all Sabahan natives as Momogun.

"It's alright if he's referring to just the Dusunic, Murutic and Paitanic groups which form the Kadazandusun people but not all Sabahan natives. Surely the Bajau people who are also natives in Sabah would not agree to being described as a Momogun.

"Momogun is not a race but a mere local word or term to describe a group of people who have been residing in a specific area or place that can include any other people including any person or race including illegal immigrants or refugees who arrived in the State. So it's not necessarily defined as only the Kadazandusuns."

He was responding to an article entitled "Henrynus: Sabah natives should be called Momogun" which was published in the Daily Express on Wednesday.

"It is not what the MNC under Datuk Henrynus Amin would like us to believe that Momogun is a native or Kadazandusun.

He said similarly the Momogun term cannot be equated similarly to the Dayak people as described in the article."Because unlike Momogun, the term Dayak has been recognised since time immemorial as a race. Dayak is the generic name for Iban, Bidayuh, etc, races in Sarawak while Momogun is just a local Kadazandusun term."

John said by using the term Momogun to describe the race of the natives of the State, the proponents for Momogun are attempting to create a new race called the Momogun of Sabah. "This will only create more confusion and further debate when we should just stick to the term Kadazandusun."

John said it was understood and agreed that other groups in Sabah such as the Tindals in Kota Belud, Liwaan in Ranau, Lotuds in Tuaran and all the other sub-ethnic groups shall be defined under the general term Kadazandusun as decided by past leaders since 1961. "There is a Pasok Momogun but there is no precedent for Momogun by itself. It was never a race before. Now they are talking about the Dayak NGOs' demands (to be accorded special recognition in official forms) but Dayak is already a race, a generic name for the Iban and Bidayuh and others.

Momogun was never a race as far as the word is concerned. "So I would like to rebut Henrynus who is saying that Momogun is synonymous to Kadazandusun. Momogun is just a Kadazan word to imply someone living in an area irrespective of whether they are Kadazandusun or other races. "To say that Momogun can be our generic name to replace the Kadazandusun, I feel will just create another debate and there will never be an end to this matter."

John said in the 1850s the term and name Kadazan was already in use even before the British were here. "Kadazan is not an invented term and it has nothing to do with kadai or kakadazan or township as some people have argued. It means 'people of god.' "Actually the word had been in use by the ancient bobohizans (Kadazandusun priestess) in their rinait or inaits since time immemorial which was even before any shops existed in Sabah." He said Kadazan was also the term ultimately accepted through a resolution in 1961 (Kadazan was changed to Kadazandusun in 1994). "The term Kadazan was adopted as the generic term for 40 different sub-ethnics in 1961, the United National Kadazan Organisation (Unko) Congress was held and during the congress, representatives of the various sub-ethnic groups were present. "It was during that Congress that there were a few suggestions to name our people.

Among the suggestions were Kadazan, Dusun, Murut and Pasok Momogun. "After days of debate, all the representatives unanimously adopted the term Kadazan to be the generic term to describe the Kadazan people adding that five years later KCA was officially formed and registered to preserve and promote the culture of the Kadazans. "It was chosen by consensus. They debated it, voted on it and they decided to adopt Kadazan as the generic name. "So if somebody wants to change it to something else, don't you think it's wise that it go back to the ballot paper for a consensus again otherwise it will not be accepted by everybody and it will become a divisive matter than a uniting one. The Kadazandusuns will only end up with so many names. That is KDCA's stance on the matter. "

John said certain parties have also accused KDCA of not being able to unite the Kadazandusun i.e. alluding to disunity of the Kadazandusun sub-ethnic groups by pointing to the mushrooming of sub- ethic group associations in the State as examples. "To me what sort of disunity are they talking about because KDCA accepts everyone regardless of their religion or political beliefs. KDCA members have one voice in defending the rights and constitution, culture and identity while also assisting in the Kadazandusun economic status and education and the general welfare of the Kadazandusuns. Anything else is political. "When it comes to politics then the members can go their own way. So what sort of disunity are we talking about here? "The mushrooming of associations representing the sub ethnic groups under Kadazandusuns does not necessarily indicate disunity. They also understand that being a sub-ethnic group and having an association provides them with a stronger voice. There are also a lot of other reasons why they want to form an association among them political reasons.

"So I refute the accusations that KDCA is incapable of uniting the Kadazandusuns. We are not political. Our definition of unity here is to defend our identity, culture and language and the general welfare of the Kadazandusun people." John said the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA and now KDCA) was founded on the 1961 Kadazan Resolution. "So naturally we have to defend the term Kadazan or later the term Kadazandusun as a generic term for the Kadazan Dusun race. This has been already decided in 1961 by consensus so why do we now have to go back to re-inventing the wheel again? "Therefore whatever is to be used now whether its racial categories on an official form or others, it must be the Kadazandusun to refer to our race. He said that the KDCA had achieved much for the Kadazandusuns and will continue to remain relevant to them.

"KDCA, for instance, is instrumental in the organising of the National Kaamatan Festival as well as the preservation of the Huguan Siou institution as well as preservation of the Kadazandusun languages via the establishment of schools to teach Kadazandusun children their native ethnic tongues and also in getting the Kadazandusun language to be taught in schools." John also said in conjunction with its 50th anniversary, KDCA will publish a commemorative book about the Kadazandusun cultural heritage. "Besides the commemorative book, we will also publish three additional books which would also be about the Kadazandusun heritage," he added.  

(Source from Daily Express, Friday, April 22, 2016)