Lawyer who insulted KDMR community agreed to settle sogit

KOTA KINABALU: The Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) has reached an agreement with lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph to resolve the issue of the latter’s insult to the KDMR community.

In a statement here today, KDCA Deputy President Bulawan Sigah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said Joseph has agreed to settle a ‘sogit’ of seven buffaloes to the KDMR community, through the KDCA, within 14 days.

On top of that, Joseph is also required to publish a half-page public apology in a daily local newspaper of his choice.

“This agreement will be registered with the Native Court in Penampang. Both parties have agreed not to challenge the terms of the agreement in any existing courts in Sabah.

“On behalf of KDCA and all the associations affiliated with us, we have agreed not to pursue the court action against Joseph, and we consider this matter to be closed.

“Therefore, we are asking the whole Kadazandusun community to bury the hatchet and do what we have always done, which is to promote peace and reconciliation,” he said.

Kitingan explained that the resolution has the blessing of the Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who demanded that the issue is not dragged on.

The number of buffaloes is determined by the seven varieties of the KDMR customs and traditions.

“The importance of the public apology cannot be overstated. Although Joseph has apologised to the Unduk Ngadau committee and the contestants, he has agreed to issue another public apology,” he said.

To ensure that this issue does not reoccur, Kitingan stated that the Huguan Siou had directed the KDCA to erect an oath stone within the KDCA grounds listing the most important customs and traditions of the KDMR people.

Each village is also encouraged to erect their own oath stone or any permanent notice, listing down their customs and traditions, which must be respected by the community members and outsiders who come into the village.

Addressing the KDCA, Joseph expressed his remorse for offending the KDMR community, insisting it was never his intention to cause pain to anyone, least of all the KDMR community.

Commenting on the outcome of the agreement, Unduk Ngadau committee chairperson Tindarama Joanna Kitingan said women have always been held in the highest regard within the KDMR community.

“Because women play important roles, particularly in the spiritual realm, insulting the women in our community is highly offensive.

“You have come to our land and enjoyed the fruits of our lands. It would be prudent to learn about our history and respect our customs,” she advised.

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