Leiking’s pride in being a Kadazan ‘goes to his head’

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 03 Jul 2018

PETALING JAYA: He wore a distinctive Kadazandusun headgear and stood out among the others when taking his oath of office.

Darell Leiking (pic) said he made it a point to wear the siga as it was part of the “traditional dress code” of Sabah.

“I am proud to tell the world that I am a Kadazan Sabahan, as much as I am proud to be a Malaysian.

“I wish I could have worn the whole set of costume, not just the headgear,” said the new Inter­na­tional Trade and Industry Minister.

Leiking was one of the new ministers sworn in at Istana Negara yesterday.

While others wore songkok, Leiking sported the traditional “headcover of handwoven cloth, folded or twisted in a number of distinctive ways”.

The Penampang MP is the deputy president of Parti Warisan Sabah.

He has been vocal in pushing for Sabah’s state rights.

Penampang is considered the hub of Kadazandusun culture, where the state’s biggest Kaamatan Harvest Festival celebrations are held every year.

In the May 9 polls, Leiking defeated his cousin Ceasar Mandela Mala­kun of Upko in a four-cornered fight.

According to the Kadazandusun Cultural Association website, there are several types of siga, depending on the way the cloth is folded.

For instance, there is the siga hinopung because it looks like a curled python.

There is also the twisted model called siga kinahu and the folded model called siga sinimbitan or tinahanuk.

Earlier, on May 22, M. Kula­segaran showed up in a black turban while taking the oath as Human Resources Minister.

The Ipoh Barat MP was spotted in a thallapa or Tamil headgear.

He told reporters that he was proud to be able to don the traditional headgear in recognition of his cultural heritage.

Gobind Singh Deo also donned a turban when he was sworn in as Communications and Multimedia Minister.

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