Those who wish to unite KDM community must be sincere, says Pairin

Joseph Pairin Kitingan (2nd right) and Jeffrey Kitingan (right) at the Indigenous Walk event in Penampang, Sabah, yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the paramount head of the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) community, says he welcomes any move to reunite the community which he admits has been torn apart by political differences.

“Talk of reunification is not new. We have had leaders who have always been working to reunite the KDM community. This is because whatever we want to do, we need the unity and the cooperation from all. When someone comes to me saying they also want this, I agree, and if someone in the future says the same thing, I would agree too.

“Our hope is that those who say they want to unite the people mean business and want to do this with good intentions,” the KDM Huguan Siou told FMT.

Pairin said this when commenting on a statement by Warisan vice-president Peter Anthony who recently said Pairin had approved his proposal for unity in the KDM community and that the former chief minister had been asked to lead talks on bringing KDM leaders together to discuss the direction of the community.

Anthony had said the split in the community was due to political differences.

Meanwhile, Pairin’s brother Jeffrey Kitingan, who is also the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association deputy president, said he welcomed the initiative but that it would be good to pause and investigate the intention behind the proposal.

Jeffrey is also the Huguan Siou Lundu Mirongod or “brave paramount thinker” of the KDM.

“Knowing the intention would be a good start. The question of how we can achieve it, that would be a challenge. As it is now, everything is muddled up with politics. So what kind of unity are we looking at? Is it a cultural unity? A political unity?” he asked.

Nevertheless, Jeffrey said he believed unity was closer now than ever before as there was a strong motivating factor that would push the community members towards solidarity.

This motivation factor, he said, was the realisation that the people in the state were now divided between “original Sabahans” and “pretend Sabahans”, those whose citizenship is questionable.

“Nowadays, I see this is as the strongest motivating factor. So, reunification that overcomes political differences is not impossible. It can happen,” he said.