KOTA KINABALU: Sabah natives have been urged to remember their rights and protect them during an indigenous walk, organised in conjunction with the Harvest Festival in Penampang near here on Thursday (May 30).
Sabah’s Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun murut community), Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said this when officiating at the Indigenous Walk, adding that there was so much they could achieve if they were united.
“We must not be selfish and think as different individuals if we really want to work or the betterment of our community,” he said.
He said all indigenous people must know their rights, defend them, and let no one bring them down.
One of the organisers, Shalmon Sanangan of Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah, said the programme was aimed at uniting and reminding locals and the government on 12 main issues concerning Sabah indigenous people.
“We want all natives and indigenous people and leaders to protect their own rights, to clean up the electoral roll and increase security at borders,” he said.
He said the walk is also to urge the government to ensure that documents are not issued to illegal immigrants, native courts are non-political, fix and clarify Sabah’s history in the education system, and to ask that native lands are not disturbed or encroached.
Calls to give equal economic and employment opportunities to the indigenous people were also made during the walk.
Other KDM leaders present were Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai and Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing.
The walk participated by over 300 people started at 8am from the Siga roundabout in Donggongon near here to the Penampang sports stadium.
The event’s other main organisers are non-governmental organisations Himpunan Rakyat Sabah and Borneo Dayak Forum supported by other related NGOs.
After the walk, Pairin headed on to the state level Kaamatan Festival at KDCA (Kadazandusun Cultural Association) to join in the festivities.