Saturday, February 22

Lack of literature may hamper devt of Iban language

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KUCHING: The just concluded Forum Jaku Iban 2011 (FJI 2011) co-organised by the Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation and Utusan Borneo was told that lack of reading materials could slow down development of  the Iban language in schools.

Janang Ensiring

Janang Ensiring, one of the speakers at the forum, said the money must be made readily available for the printing of books produced by Borneo Literature Bureau in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of these books could be borrowed from Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka.

“Part of proceeds from the sale of these books later on can be used as part settlement of royalty to the owners of the books and also cost of re-printing,” he said in a statement received here yesterday.

The FJI 2011 was supported by Tun Jugah Foundation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Universiti Teknologi Mara Sarawak (UiTM), Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak, Kuching Division Journalists Association, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris Perak, Ministry of Education and State Education Department.

The forum, held at Four Points by Sheraton here on Sept 17, saw more than 350 participants and observers.

Four papers were presented: The Way Tun Jugah Foundation Promotes Iban Literature; Iban Literature; Iban Language Development in Schools; and Dunging Alphabet – Iban Linguistic Identity and Proposal for research institute BRAINS.

Two resolutions were passed for presentation to the government. Firstly, the call for recognition and adoption of the Iban alphabet in the education system, and secondly, the call for setting up of a research institute to further the development of ethnic languages.

Janang said: “The forum is not the end of the matter because the pertinent question in the mind of participants is what the relevant authority should do about the two resolutions.”

Meanwhile, Balai Ringin assemblyman Snowdan Lawan, said he was touched by the forum because it reminded him of the
late Dunging Gunggu who came up with the Iban alphabet.

He said Dunging was a genius and without him the Iban community might
not have any linguistic identity. Dunging also proved to the world that there already existed Iban intellectuals in the longhouses in the 1940s.

“As the alphabet is already in existence, why not pursue it to get it recognised? This is a noble cause which will benefit the Iban,” he said.