KOTA KINABALU: The apparent snub of the Huguan Siou (paramount head) of the Kadazandusun people at the recent national-level Tadau Kaamatan open house here has caused a stir among the community.
Not only was Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan not invited to join other leaders in the symbolic padi-cutting of the annual harvesting festival but the ritual related to the event was also overlooked by the organisers, they said.
The Parti Bersatu Sabah chief, who has stayed mum on the issue, attended the event but was glaringly left out from the padi-cutting ceremony at the grandstand although he stood with the VIPs who performed the symbolic act.
The national Tadau Kaamatan open house at Padang Merdeka here on Saturday was organised by the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and launched by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman were also present.
“The significance and meaning of the Kaamatan was lost at the national level celebration of the padi harvest festival,” Kadazandusun leader Datuk Johnny Mositun said.
“As a Huguan Siou, he (Pairin) must be accorded respect by the organisers,” added Mositun, who is deputy state assembly Speaker.
“Otherwise, individuals and groups from the community will continue to raise questions about the lack of sensitivity in marking the event,” he said.
Regarding the omission of the magavau ceremony (to seek blessing of the padi spirit), Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) executive secretary Benedict Topin said it was a significant ritual that should not be left out.
He said the symbolic presence of the Kadazandusun priestess was important at such function as her role was to create harmony with the padi spirit and the people.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said his ministry was not involved in the national event.
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