Saman malu filed against Sabah mufti over "invented race" remark

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 08 Oct 2013

PENAMPANG: The Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) has filed a customary summon at the district court here against mufti Bungsu Aziz Jafaar (pix) over his description of natives as "invented race" during a forum in Putrajaya.

KSS deputy president Sylvester Disimond filed the summon, known as "saman malu," at the Penampang district chief office of OKK (Orang Kaya Kaya) Christoper Mojungkim on Monday.

Mojungkim said Bungsu is obliged to appear at the Penampang Native Court within 21 days.

“If he fail to appear in the native court, we will work with the police to issue a warrant (of arrest) on him,” he added.

A saman malu is usually filed against anyone bringing shame to a family or community and, if guilty, the party can be fined a buffalo or cash.

Disimon told reporters that Bungsu’s remarks had caused anger among Kadazans and the matter had to be "properly and adequately dealt with" to appease the community.

“Kadazan feelings and dignity have been hurt beyond repair if the matter is not settled through the native court,” he said, adding that the community needed to be calmed over the issue.

Disimon explained that the term 'Kadazan' had been in existence since time immemorial and was never invented.

He said the term "is not of recent origin" as claimed by Bungsu at the Malay Leadership Crisis symposium in
Putrajaya on Sept 28.

He noted that there was evidence to show that the term had been used long before the 1950s, citing Owen Rutter, in his book, "The Pagans Of North Borneo" published in 1929, who wrote “the Dusun usually describes himself generically as a 'tulun tindal' (landsman) or, on the west coast, particularly at Papar, as a Kadazan."

Rutter worked in Sabah (then North Borneo) from 1910 for five years as a district officer in all five residencies and left in 1914 when the First World War broke out.

“So, if this misconception is left unchecked and not rectified, other communities might think that Bungsu's statement is correct.

"It might eventually become the truth if left uncorrected, and thus our future generations might be forever misled as what the Bungsu has said about the Kadazan community,” he said.

While noting that KSS is taking the lead by summoning the mufti, Disimon stressed that every Kadazan has the righ to do the same.

Disimon stressed that KSS’s action was in line with its constitution that is to defend the rights and dignity of the Kadazans.

Bungsu's statement hit a controversial note in Sabah when he proposed that natives of Sabah, who converted to Islam, be considered Malays.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman has stepped in to make clear that the state government’s view was that race and religion were separate matters.

Musa said an indigenous Kadazandusun could not be considered a Malay just because the person’s religion is Islam.

Bungsu, who is of Brunei-Suluk ancestry, has yet to respond to the calls for him to explain his sensitive remarks.

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