United Murut Community Organisation (UMCO) Sabah Murut organisation.

So finally the Murut community has thier own organisation. The newly formed Sabah Murut Comunity Organisation (UMCO) ends Muruts community participations in KDCA.

The indigenous ethnic Murut community in Sabah believes that it has been “sidelined” by political organisations and welfare bodies for the past 40 years.

Save for a handful of individuals, this community often referred to as “hill people” is still backward in all aspects compared to the Kadazan or Dusun and other native communities in this “Land Below the Wind”.

It is for this reason that a new organisation has been established whose main objective is to unite the Muruts.

The Muruts comprise 29 sub-ethnic groups living in the interior division of Sabah in the districts of Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan and Pensingan. They can also be found in the border areas of Sarawak, especially around Lawas, Limbang as well as in Brunei.

The new non-political movement called United Murut Community Organisation (Umco) was formed by a group of leaders in Keningau.

Umco is headed by Alizulfakar Salamat, 53, a retired civil servant.

Speaking to FMT recently, Alizulfakar said: “Despite being grouped in various Kadazan, Dusun and Murut organisations, the Muruts largely had not benefited anything.

“We [Muruts] are trailing behind politically, economically as well as in education,” he said, adding that Umco’s application was approved by the Registrar of Societies on June 27, this year.

He said currently the more popular organisations that listed Muruts as one of their group are the Kadazandusun Murut Cultural Association (KDCA), Sabah Murut Association (SMA), Sabah Kadazandusun Murut Welfare and Education Association (Pekadin).

This community is also prominently acknowledged by a political party, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), which is helmed by Bernard Dompok, who is the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

‘No political agenda yet’

The KDCA was formed on April 29, 1966, and is headed by Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) while SMA’s president is Rubin Balang, another politician and Umno assemblyman for Kemabong.

Lawyer-cum journalist Newman Tibin is president of Pekadin.

Umco, Alizulfakar said, will for now focus on the “preservation, development, enrichment and promotion of the Murut cultures”.

Asked if Umco was formed in view of the approaching 13th general election, Alizulfakar pointed out that at this point of time “politics is second in their agenda”; the priority being to unite the Muruts.

“We want to group the Muruts under one ‘house’. Once we are united, our voices will be louder, and we can decide which of the political parties the Muruts can support.

“Mind you, our people formed the majority voters in most of the constituencies in Keningau, Pensiangan and Tenom.

“For now, Umco will focus efforts on the preservation, development, enrichment and promotion of the Murut cultures.

“We will also do our best to protect our cultural heritage from disappearing, or being displaced by the ever-dominating modern cultures,” Alizulfakar said.

He said he and Umco secretary-general Jauni Anduoh were preparing for the inauguration of Umco scheduled for next month in Nabawan, near Keningau.

Source:freemalaysiatoday.com
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