KOTA KINABALU: Longtime Borneo rights advocate Jeffrey Kitingan will be installed on Friday as “Huguan Siou Lundu Mirongod Borneo” or “paramount thinker” of the Orang Asal.
The title is being bestowed on him by the Dusun Tindal tribe in Kota Belud.
Joseph Pairin Kitingan, his eldest brother, is Huguan Siou (paramount chief) of the First Nation. He was installed by the Dusun Tangah tribe in Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, in 1984.
The first Huguan Siou was Donald Stephens, later Fuad Stephens, who held the post of chief minister twice and also served as governor.
Jeffrey told the Daily Express that Pairin’s Huguan Siou title was different from the one he would hold. “Lundu Mirongod is more on the intellectual part of being a leader,” he said.
Pairin held a general title, said Jeffrey, while his position would be specific. He hastened to add that he did not want to be drawn into polemics on which title was higher.
“That’s not the point of the ceremony (installation),” Jeffrey told the Daily Express.
The report said Jefrey had been offered the title at least three times in the last 10 years.
Bobolian (priest) chief Tindarama Amman Sirom Simbuna, the Keeper of the Adat (traditions) of the Orang Asal, will install Jeffrey in his new role on Friday in Kampung Bangkahak Lama, Kota Belud.
Ambrose Obon, director of communication for Jeffrey’s Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star), said the installation would be witnessed by Adat leaders from Kalimantan and Sarawak.
The report quoted Obon as saying the Dusun Tindal tribe in Kota Belud had decided to bestow the title on Jeffrey because of his lifelong achievement in leading the Kadazandusun community intellectually and in fields which required wisdom and understanding.
Besides being Star president, Jeffrey is Bingkor assemblyman. He founded the United Sabah Alliance which brings together three local parties.
He studied at Harvard University, the United States.
He was detained in the early 90s under the draconian Internal Security Act, and held without trial for nearly four years. -FMT