National referendum to resolve issue over use of ‘Momogun’

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Wences (seated third right) with MNC main organising committee members.

KOTA KINABALU (May 15): The Momogun National Congress (MNC) will be organising a national referendum on August 3 to put to rest once and for all the contentious debate over the use of ‘Momogun’ as the generic term for indigenous people in Sabah.

“It’s high time we resolve the issue once and for all,” MNC president Tan Sri Wences Angang told a press conference on Tuesday.

He is optimistic that the majority of the ethnic communities in the State will be in favour of the use of ‘Momogun’ as the proper terminology to identify themselves.

He said prior to the national referendum, MNC will reach out to leaders of all the ethnic associations especially the Dusunic, Murutic and Paitanic language groups to brief them on the purpose of the event.

“During our convention in 2016, 21 ethnic associations pledged their support. Today, there are more ethnic associations that also want to come under us. So, we’ll reach out to them and explain what the ‘Momogun’ is all about,” he said.

The national referendum will be held at Dewan Kebudayaan Penampang. MNC will be organising the event with cooperation from the Sabah Cultural Board and the Sabah Native Affairs Department.

The debate over the use of the term ‘Momogun’ to identify all indigenous people in Sabah gained renewed attention following the suggestion from Upko president Datuk Ewon Benedick last month over the use of “Momogun” in official forms.

Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan however proposed the term “Dayak” instead.

Meanwhile, Wences also announced that the MNC will be organising the celebration of the World Indigenous Peoples Day in Kadamaian.

The theme will highlight on Sabah indigenous people’s entrepreneurship and corporative.

According to him, the organisers hope to be able to invite the Prime Minister to officiate the event to be held on August 8-9.