Penampang: Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Sec-Gen Datuk Ir John Anthony said the "Huguan Siou Lundu Mirongod" title conferred on Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is a tribal award, which is not on the hierarchy of titles recognized by the association.
At least not yet.
He said so far KDCA only officially recognises three titles – the Huguan Siou, Buhavan Siga and Tindarama.
However, indigenous communities can offer to have their local titles to be recognised by the association, he said.
"We don't want to say it's not recognised. It's a tribal title which has nothing to do with KDCA.
If this tribe offered to the KDCA that their title must be recognised by the KDCA then we will take it as one that is recognised by the KDCA," he said, at the launching of the KDCA Cultural Village Tamu Badi, Saturday.
He said the KDCA welcomes tribal communities in Sabah, currently 44 in all, to offer their respective local titles to be added onto the association's list.
"So far none has made any offer," he said.
Jeffrey, who is Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) President, was bestowed the title by the Keeper of the "Adat" and Traditions of the Dusuns, Bobolian Chief Tindarama Aman Sirom Simbuna, in a ceremony at Kg Bagahak Lama in Kota Belud, on Friday.
Star Director of Communication Ambrose Obon said the Dusun Tindal tribe in Kota Belud had decided to bestow the title on Jeffrey because of his lifelong achievement in leading the Kadazandusun community intellectually and in other fields which require wisdom and understanding to carry out the people's legacy.
He had also said that Jeffrey had been offered the title no less than three times in the last 10 years before finally accepting when after leading the Borneo-wide indigenous peoples' organisation, Borneo Dayak forum as President since 2010.
Lundu Mirongod are Dusun Tindal words which means Visionary Thinker or Paramount Thinker.
Jeffrey's older brother, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has been holding the title of Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) of the Kadazandusun that was conferred on him by the Tangaa tribe in Penampang in 1984.
The younger Kitingan, however, did not wish to be drawn into any debate on whether his title was superior than his brother's. He also had said his title should not be confused with the Huguan Siou title, which is held for life.
Pairin also declined to comment when asked for his views about his brother also being made a Huguan Siou.
According to John, the KDCA has a special committee that looks into matters with regard to titles from indigenous communities. He said the committee is currently looking into a set of criteria on the succession of the Huguan Siou title.
"We don't want to create a vacuum that will create infighting among people," he said adding that the succession criteria process involves many people and not just the KDCA.
Second highest after the Huguan Siou title is the Buhavan Siga which John said had been conferred to seven founding members of the Kadazan Cultural Association (KCA) during the KDCA's 50th anniversary celebration last April.
He named the seven – also known as the Magnificent Seven – as Roger Dunstan, Bernard Chu, Francis Chu, Thaddeus Manson, Datuk Pat Michael, Datuk Justin Stimol and Datuk Richard Maning. Roger, Bernard, Francis and Thaddeus received the title posthumously.
"The title was given in recognition to their huge and noticeable contribution to the KDCA and for our race," said John.
The third in KDCA's hierarchy of title is the Tindarama that has been conferred on only one individual so far, the Bobolian Chief, Aman Sirom.
He added that the KDCA may increase the number recipients for the Buhavan Siga and Tindarama titles next year and the years to follow.
"We have to do this. If they are to be given award through the government, they'll have to compete with other races.
Yet they have made immense contribution to the KDCA and our race. So we might as well have our own titles to recognise their contributions," he said.
(Source from Daily Express, Sunday, December 18, 2016)