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Dusun ‘bobolian’ leaves participants enthralled at KK int’l spiritual & tourism conference

KOTA KINABALU: All eyes were on Amit Guntawoi, 80, as she performed the ‘momulangga’ ritual to bless the opening of the International Conference on Spirituality, Culture and Sustainable Tourism, here today.

The Dusun ‘bobolian’ (high priestess) from Kimanis spent almost an hour, where she connected with the spirit world and recited chants in a conference room with about 100 participants at the Le Meridien Hotel.

Present were Deputy Chief Minister and Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) president, and KDCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

At one point during the ritual, Guntawoi’s assistant quietly tried to ask the bobolian to cut short her ritual as it was taking too long but she asked not to be disturbed.

Guntawoi is among few remaining Dusun bobolian who still performs rituals. She takes the momulangga ritual seriously to ward off unwanted and negative spirits to ensure today’s conference is carried out smoothly.

The event is KDCA’s first international conference in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi MARA and Universiti Sains Malaysia to provide a platform for various key players to present and discuss cultural knowledge and research findings.

In his opening speech, Pairin said the momulangga ritual demonstrates what spirituality all about.

“I’m happy at being able to witness a bobolian from Kimanis. The ritual she performed for us is something she believes in.

“On May 30, I saw performances where the personality of a group of performers changed after performing chants and it took them awhile to exit from the spiritual environment into the real world,” he said.

Pairin noted that the the conference aims to seek a marriage between spirituality and sustainable tourism, and that a package would be developed as they understand the subject matter.

Pairin said the conference was timely with the finale of the Kaamatan festival and urged participants to take the opportunity to further enhance their understanding of the local spirituality, culture and sustainable tourism.

Source: New Straits Times

Sisterhood pact between rural villages in Sabah and Japan proposed

TUDAN (Kiulu): Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai has suggested the establishment of sisterhood pact between strategic rural villages in Sabah and Japan.

He said such a sisterhood pact would allow greater people-to-people interaction and cooperation between Sabah and Japan, especially involving rural folks.

In an immediate reaction, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative in Malaysia, Kojiro Matsumoto, said the proposal is worth looking into.

“We are always ready to explore any new initiative that could further enhance the existing close people-to-people ties between Japan and Sabah,” Matsumoto said.

Speaking at the closing of a JICA-SDBEC pilot project on sustainable agriculture and ecosystem protection here, Joniston also noted that fostering people-to-people cooperation and understanding is the main objective of JICA

Supporting the proposal, a local from Tudan, Jenius Gadiman, went a step further by suggesting a sisterhood pact between Tudan and Toyooka, a rural village about 400km from Tokyo.

Gadiman, a teacher, who was selected for a three-week familiarisation visit to Japan last year under the auspices of JICA, said he had the opportunity of touring Toyooka and noticed that the village has some similarity with Tudan in the aspect of agro-tourism.

“Toyooka, though a rural village, is more advance in the agro-tourism development than Tudan, but we are not that far behind,” he said, adding that the people from the two villages have much to learn from each other which would be made possible through a sisterhood pact.

Tudan is a rural village nestled on the slopes of a valley along the crocker range about 60km from Kota Kinabalu.

On the JICA-SDBEC project, Joniston, who is also Kiulu assemblyman, believes that its impact in the long run is enormous in terms of economically empowering the people of Tudan.

The four-year pilot project, among others, involves mullberry cultivation and bee keeping which has begun to bring economic benefits to the rural community.

“Some of us have started to produce various mullbery-based products, such as wine and tea,” said Tudan Village Community Development and Security Committee chairperson Emmelyice Sirinus.

A community cooperative has been set up with the help of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, a key driver in the implementation of the pilot project, to market the village agro-tourism products.

Source: Borneo Post

Tourism tax to be collected in Keningau from July 1

Keningau: Tourism tax will be collected from hotels and resorts here from July onwards, District Officer Yusop Osman said.

He explained that the tax would be used to lift the quality of tourism products in the country, including Sabah.

“The tax will be collected effective starting July 1,” he said.

Parliament passed the Tourism Tax Bill with a big majority early last month after it was tabled by Tourism and Culture Minister Dato Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The Bill will allow the government to impose tourism tax levied on every tourist staying at any accommodation premise made available by an operator at the rate fixed by the minister in accordance with the law.

With the passing of the Bill, it shall be the duty of a tourist to pay the tourism tax to the operator of the accommodation premises.

On a related matter, Yusop called on all tourism industry players in the district to make all necessary preparation for the Visit Keningau Year 2018.

He said the people are excitedly looking forward to receiving local and foreign tourists who will find many options in terms of places to visit and things to do during their stay.

Meanwhile, Yusop advised parents to be extra watchful of their children during heavy downpours.

“I urge those who are living near rivers of low laying areas to look after their children so that they won’t go play near the river banks or go fishing,” he said.

Several areas in the district again experienced flash floods few days ago after heavy rain fell for hours for four consecutive days.

In relation to this, he also advised village leaders to quickly report to the authorities in the event of a landslide. He said hundreds of people from various areas were affected in the latest episode. – Uhim Wong

Source: Daily Express

New Zealand to strengthen ties with Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: New Zealand is looking to strengthen ties with Sabah by implementing a cultural exchange program that will involve two Sabahans staying with a Maori family for six months to immerse in their culture.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun agreed with the Minister of Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell on the proposal and noted that there are many similarities between the indigenous people of Sabah and New Zealand.

“One of the main sources of income in the tourism sector in Sabah is the vista homestays,” said Masidi, a concept that earned the interest of Minister Flavell.

Likewise, visitors from New Zealand can have the chance to learn the Sabahan culture. Flavell hopes to invite New Zealand alumni in Sabah or those keen on Maori culture to the World Indigenous Tourism Conference which would be held in New Zealand next year.

“We have a DNA connection to this land, our ancestors as Polynesian people came from here,” he said.

“This year is the 60th New Zealand and Malaysia anniversary, which goes back earlier when New Zealand soldiers assisted the Malayan forces during the Malayan Emergency in 1949,” said New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr. John Subritzky.

He added since the 1950s there has been a large influx of Malaysians coming to study in New Zealand, and the long standing relationship between Sabah and New Zealand will continue to grow.

Also present at the event was former Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr Herman Luping who obtained his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

Source: Sabah Times

Meeting Minister for Maori Development, New Zealand- HE Te Ururoa Flavell

Meeting with HE Te Ururoa Flavell

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YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun received a courtesy visit from Minister for Maori Development, New Zealand, HE Te Ururoa Flavell at Hilton Hotel, Kota Kinabalu on May 17, 2017. There was a reception followed thereafter, which hosted by the New Zealand High Commission to Malaysia. This visit and reception is one of our leading events to celebrate this year’s 60th anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic relationship with Malaysia.

YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun menerima Kunjungan Hormat daripada Menteri Pembangunan Maori New Zeland, HE Te Ururoa Flavell di Hotel Hilton Kota Kinabalu pada 17 Mei 2017. Acara tersebut diteruskan dengan majlis resepsi di hotel tersebut yang dihoskan oleh Kedutaan New Zealand di Malaysia. Tujuan acara tersebut diadakan adalah untuk meraikan hubungan dua hala yang Ke-60 tahun antara New Zealand dan Malaysia.