Penampang: Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan declared he will not abandon the presidency of the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) just because certain quarters may be aspiring for the post.
He said he would only do so when he is certain that the Koisaan (fraternity) "is really up on its feet and walking with full support from the community."
(Source: Daily Express, 6th Dec 2004)
Pairin, who was returned unopposed at the 10th KDCA Triennial Delegates Conference in Hongkod Koisaan, Sunday, said he would be reading the situation from the participation of the people as well as indication that they want certain people.
"(In a way) I'm giving them a preparation towards this because a majority of them might not think about it because they support me. But there will come a time when I say I'm not ready to contest," he said when met to elaborate on his speech earlier.
At a certain stage, he said, they would be ready to allow for a new leadership to take over.
"But, I have not said that I want to relinquish. That's why I still allowed people to nominate me. When I'm readyÖobviously when age catches upÖI cannot be holding this post forever," he said.
Pairin said among the KDCA leaders' aims now was for the Koisaan to be institutionalised and well-oiled so that whoever takes over would inherit a machinery that functions efficiently so that people would follow.
In this respect, he said once he sees the KDCA organisation properly in place, self-sustainable and able to function independently, then he would say he no longer wishes to be nominated. The community would know then that it is the time for the delegates to identify a new leader.
In his speech, Pairin said he knows people are saying "you are already the Huguan Siou (Paramount Chief of the KDMs). So what for you still want to become President of KDCAÖwhy not step down and just be the Huguan Siou?"
"I understand this and its not I don't want to step down. I know that I have been in the KDCA for quite a long time together with some friends who are no longer here. But when I think about it and analyse, I ask myself whether I should step down just because I was asked to or should I ask myself is it time for me to step down."
Pairin said this should not be perceived as though he wanted to hold on to the position forever. "But if I do step down because someone asked me to do so, then I think I will be running away from my responsibility", he said to thunderous applause from the 463 delegates.
What is important, he said, was that these people come forward and offer themselves, their knowledge as well as resources to assist towards empowering the community to show that they were really serious.
On whether there is a potential leader to replace him or if he was grooming anyone, he said there are potentials but he was not grooming anyone.
"The circumstances will groom them," he said.
He also urged members to follow the system of selecting leaders through nominations from the branch levels and election by delegates.
"If we do not follow the system then our organisation will be in a quandary," he said.
On whether he was satisfied with KDCA's achievements so far, he said looking back at what they have gone through since inception in 1963, he was satisfied.
"Despite the circumstances and challenges we continue to move forward. If circumstances were a bit easier we could have done better but I think I am satisfied," said Pairin who had been its President for 27 years now.
According to him, each time they come to the delegates' conference, the KDCA members and community are at a crossroads where they must stop and think for a while especially for the election.
On coming to the crossroad, all would have to come down from the big KDCA bus to set up a tent where they discuss and share experiences as well as foster greater relationship.
He said the need to discuss with each other on reaching the crossroads was vital particularly when along their journey, they see in the media calls like unity, what have KDCA done, old people should give way to young people or the Kadazandusun should be split into Kadazan and Dusun.
In this instance, Pairin said he had to remind the KDCA members about the history of the Koisaan beginning from when it was still the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) until it was changed into KDCA in 1986.
He was calling for all the knowledgeable and resourceful people in the community to come forward to help the KDCA move towards enriching the community live because "we all have a role to play".
He likened the KDCA not only as a bus but also aeroplane that needs everyone right to the mechanics to ensure it could move and reach its destination.
"No matter how careful the captain is, the aeroplane will not be moving if the engineer or mechanic did not play their roles to maintain it," he said. "So lets come together and work towards empowerment of the community through KDCA."
Pairin said although the KDCA had so many things that it wanted to do for the benefit of the community, it was hampered by limited resources as it is voluntary bodies that had to raise funds whenever they need to organise activities.
Among them were the Kadazandusun Education Fund that needs the assistance not only from members but also community.
However, he assured that the KDCA was moving towards the empowerment of the community and placed the Koisaan on one strong foundation.
Among them was the purchase of buildings in Kota Kinabalu and Kota Belud albeit though loans from the Sabah Credit Corporation.
He also lashed out at those who criticised that the KDCA was only functioning during the Tadau Kaamatan every May.
Apart from the foundation of the Nunuk Ragang race, skill and knowledge, he said one of the catalysts to the empowerment of the society was preservation and enhancement as well as creation of higher utilisation of their culture.
Other communities were holding steadfast to this concept so "for us whatever is good we enhance and upgrade, while those which are bad we reduce them". Pairin also hoped more would become life-time members of the KDCA.