PENAMPANG: The Momogun people in spite of being the largest indigenous community in Sabah will become beggars in their own country in 20 years time or less if they do not act quickly to reverse their declining fortune politically, socially and economically.
Momogun National Congress (MNC) president Datuk Henrynus Amin issued this stern warning to his people yesterday during a speech to soft launch the draft of the association’s 8-Point Momogun Economic Blueprint.
Henrynus said the Momogun community must aggressively embrace mindset change, entrepreneurship and adopt a collective identity if they were to survive and prosper in the 21st century.
“The Momogun people of dusunic, murutic and paitanic tribal heritage wherever they are must wake up to the fact or reality around them,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
He said the Momogun people have resources such as land or properties, education or skills but they lack the entrepreneurial mind, character and competence to recognize opportunity and to organize themselves or their resources to work for them.
Therefore, he said MNC was formed with a singular mission to unite, transform and empower the Momogun community into an economically self reliant, potent and cohesive force to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
“Since MNC is non-partisan and focused its activities on socioeconomic issues, it will work closely with the government of the day as well as with government departments and agencies and other NGOs in order to benefit the Momogun community,” said Henrynus who was a former Member of Parliament for Kinabalu (now Ranau).
“MNC views itself as complementing government efforts to eradicate poverty, prosper the rural population and encourage effective Bumiputra participation in commerce and industry,” he said.
He thanked the Chief Minister of Sabah for his ‘Halatuju Sabah’ initiative and the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s transformation program which inspired MNC to create its own 8-Point Economic Agenda.
MNC, he said, would like to move forward in tandem with people’s expectation and government’s aspirations.
“MNC recognized the efforts and good intentions of the government seen through the various policy initiatives and programs to improve the livelihood of the people,” he said.
“But huge amount of government assistance, subsidies, incentives, grants and preferential treatment or native privileges had gone to waste or even abused due to inability of the target group to recognize and use the opportunities made available to them,” he lamented.
Under the 8-Point Momogun Economic Blueprint, Henrynyus said MNC will set up a committee to identify, digest and dessiminate information on government assistance and perhaps a separate committee to monitor relevant provisions in all government policies and programs.
Datuk John Maluda who is also MNC deputy president and appointed head of MNC’s team to coordinate the implementation of the 8-Point Momogun Economic Agenda, read out the list of appointed lead persons for each of the eight focus areas to receive their appointment letters from MNC president.
Mindset Change (Dr Paul Porodong who is a researcher and senior lecturer from University Malaysia Sabah and MNC Supreme Council member), Entrepreneurship and Business Development (Bonipasius Bianis who is the president of KCCI and MNC vice president), Pooling of Resources and Cooperative Development (Datuk Henrynus Amin who is the chief coordinator of Tataba Community Project in Sabah, former MP and MNC president), Teaching of Spoken English (Marie Theresa Jouti who is an executive officer of INDEP Foundation and MNC Supreme Council member), Promoting Technical Education (Datuk Verus Aman Sham, a former general manager of LPPB and now adviser to RENG College of Technology & Designs and MNC founding Protem Deputy President), Government Assistance and CSR Programs (Datuk Dr Bernard S. Maraat who is a former MP, president of the Murut Borneo Association and MNC deputy president), Monitoring Provisions of Government Policies and Programs (Datuk John Maluda who is CEO of INDEP and former Deputy Sabah State Secretary and MNC deputy president) and Mentoring and Sponsorship of Poor Rural Student (Datuk Christine Van Houten who is a former senator, leader of various voluntary organizations and MNC deputy president).
Henrynus expressed confidence in the ability of the appointed MNC’s team leaders to carry out the task given to them based on their background or track records, passion and commitment to the cause of the Momogun community.
He said the 8-Point Agenda was not exhaustive but MNC had narrowed down its focus to eight strategic areas considered to be doable, achievable and realistic.
According to him, the draft of the 8-Point Momogun Economic Blueprint was prepared based on a series of brainstorming sessions attended by Momogun intellectual groups – politicians, government servants, university lecturers, businessmen, community leaders, etc. – to identify areas of focus for the Momogun community.
“There would be a symposium to thoroughly discuss the 8-Point Momogun Economic Blueprint to be participated by all Momogun NGOs and intellectual community.”
Henrynus said the team or working committees assigned the task are expected to refine the terms of reference and rewrite contents with emphasis on identifying relevant activities, funding sources and implementation strategies.
The 8-Point initiative was started in response to the call for a Momogun Economic Blueprint on key issues affecting the Momogun community to be submitted to the government.
He said the Momogun community for reasons known to them continued to despair and lag behind other community in terms of their economic achievement.
“The Momogun community may have entered the 21st century seemingly with hope, promise and great expectation, but the reality is still much to be desired.
“Also we cannot ignore those young Momoguns who are hurting, noisy, angry and unhappy and even feeling hopeless,” he said.
He said there is no reason to hide the fact the Momogun community generally feel they are politically weak, divided, exploited and their destiny decided by events often against their expectation.
He said the Momogun’s number one fear is that their rightful place as indigenous people or the first people of Sabah will be stolen by foreigners from neighboring countries who somehow may have obtained genuine identity cards through dubious means.
“MNC as a member of the civil society, would like to add its voice to express the people’s concern about foreigners freely working or living in Sabah masquerading as genuine Malaysian citizens,” he said.
This fear is not an illusion, he said, as the huge presence of foreigners in Sabah’s soil has fundamentally changed the political demography of the state.
Henrynus said the feeling of hopelessness is confounded by the fact the Momogun people are economically weak and lag far behind other communities in terms of business or capital ownership.
He said generally Momogun people still own large tracts of native or native customary rights (NCR) land but they were fast losing them due to the fact many of those in dire needs cannot resist the temptation to sell their land for immediate cash.
“For the record, MNC does not blame them,” he stressed.
“But the sobering reality is that the Momogun people are no more in control of their land resources or capital or the means of production,” he said.
Henrynus lamented the Momogun people as a community are disproportionately poorer and concentrated in the low productive sector of the economy, chiefly farming.
He said while it is true many Momogun are graduates or highly educated, they are generally employees rather than employers, consumers rather than producers, followers rather than leaders, workers rather than captain of industries.
Henrynus said these social facts must be corrected and therefore urged the Momogun, especially the youths, to build the necessary mindset, business acumen and start organizing themselves as successful entrepreneurs, to be self-reliant in order to be master of their own destiny.
“To be organized and successful, the Momogun people must acquire the correct mindset, character and competence to see and absorb the vast opportunities offered by the country,” he said.
For that reasons, he said, MNC has adopted the modules on Personal Viability (PV) best designed to build correct mindset and entrepreneurial skills.
He said the simple module can be taught in a one-day seminar or workshop for Momogun youths by volunteers at village level at a minimal cost of as low as RM20 per person.
He said MNC’s immediate plan is to conduct training of trainers to train the first 100 volunteers to facilitate PV seminars at village level.
MNC, he added, has embarked on a long journey to chart a new chapter for the Momogun community in the next 50 years of the 21st century.
“We are therefore inviting all peace loving and patriotic Momoguns in Malaysia to join MNC in its noble efforts to unite, empower and prosper the Momogun community through the implementation of the 8-Point Economic Agenda,” he said.