Saturday, August 15

Kapit set for Iban confab


KAPIT: Kapit is all set and ready to host the Sarawak Iban Community Leaders’ Conference (SICLC) from Oct 11 to 13 at Fort Sylvia here.

Kapit district officer Elvis Didit, who is the organising committee chairman, disclosed this yesterday at a press conference after chairing a meeting on the conference which was attended by the chairmen of various sub-committees.

Elvis said the final meeting to be held on Oct 4 would be chaired by Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi as chairman of the conference.

“Invitations have been sent to all Iban community leaders through the offices of their respective Residents. However, up to today, we’re made to understand from some of the community leaders we’d contacted that they haven’t received the invitation. So, as the working committee chairman, I humbly appeal to all my counterparts except those in Bau, Daro and Lawas to assist the organising committee to inform Iban community leaders who’ve been invited to attend the conference,” he said, adding that they had obtained the consent of the State Secretary for all Iban community leaders to attend the conference.

He further said that all expenses pertaining to transportation, accommodation and food for the community leaders would be borne by the organising committee, and that they allow all divisions to send one liaison officer (either a district officer or administrative officer) to accompany the delegates from their respective divisions.

Elvis described the coming conference as historical as it will reminisce about what happened 51 years ago during the historic meeting of 51 Iban community leaders chaired by the late Temenggong Tun Jugah on February 16, 1962.

“While the meeting in 1962 discussed the Iban community’s acceptance of the formation of Malaysia, the conference on
Oct 11, 2013 will try to look back on the Iban community’s achievement over the past 50 years,” he said.

The three-day conference is one of the activities held to commemorate Sarawak’s 50th anniversary of independence within Malaysia.

It is reminiscent of the ‘Aum Bala Penghulu Iban’ comprising 51 Batang Rajang Iban community leaders led by the Temenggong Tun Jugah Jugah (who was then paramount chief of the Iban community) who converged at Kapit specifically to discuss the proposed Federation of Malaysia on Feb 16, 1962. Their resolution at the meeting was later forwarded to the Cobbold Commission on March 19, 1962.

As the state is celebrating its golden jubilee of independence within Malaysia, the committee felt that the proposed conference is most appropriate and timely to recognise the noble effort of the Iban icon and other Iban community leaders towards the formation of Malaysia.

The conference is to chart the future of the Iban community, perhaps for the next 50 years so that the community can progress together with the other communities in Malaysia and to fulfil the aspiration of the Iban community leaders who agreed to the formation of Malaysia.

The conference will involve all the 164 Iban community leaders throughout the state, comprising 10 Temenggong, 20 Pemanca and 134 Penghulu, making it the first-ever conference for Iban community leaders since independence.

Elvis also said the meeting unanimously agreed to the formation of a main committee led by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, Social Development Minister Tan Sri Willam Mawan and Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leonard Linggi Tun Jugah as patrons.

It also agreed that Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Hulu Rajang MP Wilson Ugak, Katibas assemblyman Datuk Ambrose Blikau, Adat Istiadat president Datuk Nillie Tanggal and Kapit Resident will be the advisors, with Elvis himself as chairman and Kapit walikota Philimon Nuing as his deputy.