Programme attended by Anwar was apolitical, says Murut body

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim (sixth from left) with the participants of the Murut cultural programme.

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Murut Cultural and Welfare Organisation (PKKMM) today said its two-day programme attended by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was apolitical and only meant to fight for the good of Murut culture.

When contacted by FMT, PKKMM president Raymond Ahuar admitted he did not have the chance to explain properly the reasons for the event and, as a result, some of the participants found themselves in hot water because they were thought to have taken part in a political event.

“I am aware of the threats against native chiefs who took part in the event, compelling them to return to their districts instead of finishing the programme.

“Those who chose to finish the programme have been told to answer show cause letters from their parties.

“I deeply regret this misunderstanding because the programme was only carried out for the greater good of the Murut people,” he said.

Ahuar said this after a screenshot of a WhatsApp message instructing Warisan members who attended the programme to answer a show-cause letter from the Tenom party division chief.

Among others, they were asked whether they were given stipends for attending the programme.

The two-day programme, which was held on Sept 16-17, took place at the Institut Latihan Mahkamah Anak Negeri (Ilman) in Penampang near here.

Ahuar, who is also the Sabah PKR Youth chief, said the programme aimed to uphold the culture and customs of the Murut people and ensure their rights were respected by the country’s laws, as stated on the Oath Stone.

“It was meant to streamline and improve the customs among the Murut people in various districts,” he said.

Ahuar explained that PKKMM was established after Pakatan Harapan formed the government last year and the organisation was meant to be the bridge between the government and the Murut community.

He said PKKMM chose to invite Anwar to officiate the programme because they wanted the prime minister-in-waiting to be aware of issues affecting the Murut people so that he could include the community in his future plans.

“During the two-day programme, no political issues were discussed by the speakers or the participants.

“However, I’ll take the responsibility to pay courtesy calls on certain groups as well as the Sabah government to explain this issue further,” he said.