PENAMPANG: Sabah Mufti Bungsu Aziz Jafaar (pic) has landed himself in a controversy following his alleged description of the Kadazans as “an invented race”.
Kadazandusun leaders are not amused and would be hauling him up before a native court to answer to the community for the alleged insult.
The Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS) filed a customary saman malu (a summons to appease the humiliation) at the Penampang district court against Bungsu here yesterday.
KSS deputy-president Sylvester Disimon, who filed the summons at the office of district chief (Customary) OKK Christopher Mojungkim, said Bungsu’s remarks had drawn anger from the Kadazan community.
“Our feelings and dignity will be hurt beyond repair if it is not settled through the native court.
“Mufti Bungsu is therefore required to make appeasement to the Kadazan community in accordance with native customary law,” he told reporters.
Bungsu had reportedly made the remarks at a symposium discussing the Malay leadership crisis in Putrajaya on Sept 28.
He had said that for the sake of the Malay Muslim community, natives in Sabah who are already Muslims must be recognised as Malays, referring to the Dusun, Bajau, Murut and other ethnicities that make up Sabah’s many indigenous people.
He further compared the situation to the Kadazans, which according to him was an “invented” ethnic group made of non-Muslim Dusun people, who are mostly Catholics.
Disimon said the term “Kadazan” was never invented and is not of recent origin, as claimed by Bungsu. He said there is evidence the term had been used long before the 1950s.
He cited the book The Pagans of North Borneo by Owen Rutter in 1929 that stated a Dusun usually describes himself generically as a tulun tindal (landsman) or, on the west coast of the state, particularly at Papar, as a Kadazan.
Rutter worked in North Borneo (now Sabah) for five years from 1910 and left the state in 1914 when World War I broke out.
“So, if this misconception is left unchecked and not rectified, other communities might think that Bungsu’s statement is correct,” added Disimon.
Mojungkim said Bungsu is obliged to appear at the Penampang native court within 21 days (of the summons being field).
“If he fails to appear in the native court, we will work with the police to issue a warrant (of arrest) on him,” he added.
Bungsu, of Brunei-Suluk ancestry, has yet to respond to the calls for him to explain his remarks.