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Tombonuos still lagging, needs to work harder to progress: Akian

By Raymond Tombung

KOTA KINABALU: The Tombonuo people of Sabah are still backward and needs to strive harder and to receive more help from the government, to enable them to move forward in order to catch up with the other communities.

The newly elected President of the Tombonuo People  of Pitas Sabah Association (PBTPS), En. Akian Ah Kiew said in a press release here that the Tombonuos are still lagging in education, health, and most importantly economics. “We need to upgrade our capabilities to enable us to compete in the larger economic circles of the state and the nation,” he said.

Akian, who is a businessman, also pointed out that the Tombonuo community’s first problem is that they are not known to most Sabahans. “We are still categorised as a people in a remote region. In fact, too many people in Sabah do not even know what Tombonuo is, who and where are the are the Tombonuos,” Akian said. “As such, the first thing that the association needs to do is to have some publicity to get ourselves known to the other groups in Sabah.”

Akian (front middle) with other PBTPS leaders at the AGM.

In his speech at the recent PBTPS annual general meeting in Pitas on March 26, he also spoke at length of the need for the Tombonuo community to think of themselves as progress-minded, with noble values and identity because they are a people with the capabilities to compete with others.  “We also have our ambitions and long-term vision, and we can make if we move forward aggressively and with confidence. We are thankful that the government has been implementing several people-oriented economic projects in Pitas, including the agropolitan and aquacultural projects,” he said. “But the Tombonuos mustrise up and participate in the development process if they want to move forward.”

“As a start to improve our economic position, the association will begin to guide the community towards becoming more productive. We will initially organise short courses for the villagers to acquire some commercial skills with the aim of eventually establishing some cottage industries among them,” he said.

In the area of culture, Akian is very concerned about the loss of the Tombonuo mother tongue as a result of the younger generation of Tombonuos switching to the national language.  “It is very sad to realise that we are losing of our language which is the root of our identity. If we lose the language, we will no longer be Tombonuos. We are in urgent need to find a way to stop the loss of our culture heritage. And it is in this area that we need urgent help, especially from such bodies as the Kadazandusun Language Foundation and the Summer Institute of Linguistics,” he said.
Akian, 3rd from left, at the AGM

Akian thanked the Kudat Member of Parliament, Datuk Rahim Bakri for his support for the association and Assemblyman of Pitas, Datuk Bolkiah Ismail for having officiated the Tombonuo Cultural Night held in conjunction with the association’s AGM.

Akian won the post of President uncontested after En. Albert Adun, the former Berjaya Tandek Assemblyman, and En. Parasdin Oniung, the former Deputy President of PBTPS, both failed to receive the minimum number of three nominations to contest. Akian received an overwhelming 16 nominations.

Abdul Kahar Bin Abu Bakar as the representative of Datuk Abdul Rahim Bin Bakri, Deputy Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for  P.167 Kudat officiated the AGM. Also present were  Jailani Ademan, Samson  Liew, Muayat  Katok, Johnny  Tutulon, Ariffin  Marudu and government officers, JKKK chairmen and ketuas kampung.

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