MIRI: The Iban community has accepted the apology from Piasau Camp Miri Nature Park Society (PCMNPS) for naming two offspring of Oriental pied hornbill as Kumang and Keling.
The naming of the two birds was announced by PCMNPS deputy chairman Musa Musbah on Saturday and it riled the Iban community because Kumang and Keling are people of Panggau Libau (a place of the gods) and they are Petara (gods) of the Iban community.
They should not be levelled with the animals, or their names should not be given to animals, said Iban activist Bill Kayong on Sunday.
Iban community leader Pemanca Wilson Siang Lim said the naming of the offspring was a disrespect of the traditions and customs of the Ibans.
We are supportive of efforts by the park committee to protect wild animals, but we were shocked by the names for the two offspring.
As the leaders of the Iban community, we are responsible for safeguarding Iban traditions and customs.
If they want to name the offspring in relation to their own customs, traditions, religions or races, that is up to them. But if it involves other races, they need to refer it to the relevant party before proceeding, Wilson said to The Borneo Post yesterday.
Wilson thanked Musa and his committee for clearing the air quickly.
We, representing the Iban community, accept the apology sincerely and hope it will be a lesson to all and not to be repeated in future.
I hope this issue will not be prolonged, especially in the social media, as it can raise anger and provocation.
Wilson also advised Ibans not to misuse any Petara names, such as using them to name pubs and entertainment outlets.
If we ourselves do not respect our own beliefs and customs, how can we tell others to respect us? This is what has caused the issue.
PCMNPS, in its statement yesterday, apologised to all parties who were offended with the naming of the offspring.
It was with a good intention that we named the new hatching of the Oriental pied hornbill at Piasau Nature Reserve (PNR) as what was suggested to us. This was intentionally to respect the Iban community since many of our Iban friends insisted on naming the offspring in Iban, said Musa.
He said the offspring had been renamed Musa as a replacement for Keling and Cecilia in place of Kumang.
Thus, the two previous names shall be void. Again, I apologise for being ignorant in this matter.