Archive for July, 2010

Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS) may have lost its appeal to the Muruts

Rumour has it that the once mighty Persatuan Murut Sabah (PMS) may have lost its appeal to the Murut people if the recent spate of declared intentions by some Murut professionals in Tenom and Keningau to form their own ethnic associations are of  any serious indication.

To many, their perception is that the present leadership are merely filling up the seats for their own glory and glamour on the basis that they are doing it by default as the required Annual General Meetings to elect new members of the Ahli Majlis Tertinggi provided for in its constitution have not been held for many years.  They may have obtained tacit approval from the Registrar of Socities to postpone the holding of the said Annual General Meetings time and again but to the majority of the Murut people, it begs the question of morality on their part as they have long exhausted the mandate given to them in the last election of the Ahli Majlis Tertinggi.  In fact,  they perceived that the failure of the present leadership to conduct a general meeting is a purported exerise to deny the majority of the members to elect a new and fresh composition of office bearers to rescue the Association from its present predicament. They are saying that the reason of the present leadership as being very busy with their official committment to conduct a general meeting is no longer tenable.

It is also alleged that quite a number of the present members of the top leadership are acting like elitists.  It is further alleged that when it came to organising the annual Pesta Kalimaran in Tenom recently, the Association was merely piggy riding on the back of the Sabah Cultural Board so much so that it was reduced to only giving speeches rather than contributing to making major decision in the festival deemed as one of the highlights of the state tourism calendar to showcase the beauty and uniqeness of the Murut traditional handicrafts and cultures in Malaysia.

However, as a former secretary general of the Association, it is unpalatable that they are actually true but then again, I have been out of the equation for quite sometimes now and people may have changed over time.

Nonetheless, it is very upsetting to hear from the ordinary Muruts on the street that while they are glad to have their own Association meant to preserve, promote and develop their cultures, they do still perceive that it had failed miserably in its responsibility to pursue many of the objectives laid down in its constitution.

I remember, in the early years when the current president took office,  there was so much hope of a new beginning.  Meetings of the then Ahli Majlis Tertinggi would last for hours to deliberate on many issues pertaining to improving the welfare and interest of the Murut people in Sabah. In fact, there were a lot of activities being organised by the Association to showcase its traditional and cultural uniqeness among the people of Sabah. We had the pleasure of being part of the main organising committee of the state level Pesta Kaamatan for two consecutive years. I am happy to report  the day the Association reached its height was when the whole members of the Ahli Majlis Tertinggi were  invited to the Istana to witness the posthumous investure of the highest award of the state, the Seri Paduka Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK) to the late Murut warrior, Datuk Seri Panglima Ontoros Antanom and thereinafter, the erection of the Antanom memorial in Tenom by the state government of Sabah.

However, that was it. The journey began to stumble. The many promises to rejuvenate the Murut people by enhancing their participation in commerce and industry through advocacy, networking, information dissemination, mutual support and joint-venture cooperation with other enterpreneurs and businessmen of the other ethnic groups vide a proposed Murut  Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) as well as an Education Trust Foundation for  scholarships to bright but poor Murut students remain elusive. 

As such, I am really saddened but not the least surprise if the intentions to virtually set up the two new Murut associations in Tenom and Keningau recently  are already underway.  The present leadership may have bitten more than they can chew. 

Whatever it is, I am hoping that those people who are currently involved in the proposed set up of the two new Murut Associations in the interior would have come to their senses that there is in fact,  no viable alternative to the present Persatuan Murut Sabah. That any new association would only generate irreparable split and division within the Murut community. I am convinced that the present top leadership in the Association would have taken stock of the turbulence and be prepared to hold a general meeting cum election of the Ahli Majlis Tertinggi in the very near future.  

Cheers!

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