Tuesday, 30 December 2008

MP Gobalakrishnan is Jugan Jugah, an Iban

The Sarawak's Borneo Post On Line today carried a story that I like to share with my regular readers. This story is about an MP from Peninsula Malaysia who is said to be a local as he had been adopted by an Iban family.
KUCHING: The opposition’s claim that Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan is a local by virtue of an Iban traditional adoption ceremony he had under-gone has been described as “a mockery of Iban customs”.
“It’s rather unusual for a grown up man to be legally adopted by an Iban family. I would love to see the adoption papers,” Land Development Minister Dato Sri Dr James Masing said when contacted yesterday.
“I hope this MP isn’t trying to pull a fast one on my community,” Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president and Baleh assemblyman, said, adding that for any adoption to be legally recognised, the adoption must be registered at any of the state’s district offices.
“If the PKR man is pulling a fast one on the community, then his act is a mockery of Iban customs,” Masing said
Masing, who is also an anthropologist by training, said the supposed Iban traditional adoption ceremony that Gobalakrishnan had undergone could have been a welcoming gesture held by the headman’s family for any visitor to their longhouse.
Masing said it was highly likely that Gobalakrishnan, being a stranger to the Iban community, did not quite understand what had actually transpired and may have mistaken the fatherly act of his host who addressed him as ‘anak’ (son), a common way of addressing younger strangers.
“A real adoption process is more than just words of the mouth (during the ceremony),” he said when asked to comment on a Malaysiakini’s report which quoted a Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader as saying that Gobalakrishnan, an MP from Kedah, was a local of this state as he was adopted by an Iban headman in Kapit.
According to that report, PKR Hulu Rajang division chief Frankie Manjah Bedindang told Malaysiakini that Gobalakrishnan went through a ritual – including a miring ceremony – where he was supposedly adopted by the longhouse chief.
Manjah told Malaysiakini that Gobalakrishnan was subsequently given the name, Jugan Jugah, at the June 16 ceremony which was conducted in Tuai Rumah Jugah longhouse in Ulu Sut, witnessed by the residents of the 30-door community.
Gobalakrishnan, who is also PKR supreme council member, was barred from entering Sarawak on Christmas Eve by the immigration authorities at the Kuching International Airport.
The PKR parliamentarian who had been to Sarawak numerous times claimed that he was prevented from entering the State last Wednesday by immigration officials carrying out a directive from the State Secretariat.
It was also reported in Malaysiakini that Gobalakrishnan had vowed to go to court to challenge the entry ban.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, in response to the ban, was quoted on Saturday as saying that Sarawak government generally allowed people to enter the State even if they were personalities like Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Democratic Action Party advisor Lim Kit Siang.
“We practise an open policy. Generally we allow people to enter Sarawak. We do not stop them from entering Sarawak. We let them in because we are not afraid of the opposition. We have even allowed Anwar and Lim Kit Siang to enter,” Daud was reported as saying.

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