LONG ATIP, TELANG USAN: Kayan leaders from all over Baram gathered here recently to show their support of the appointment of Penghulu Nawan Luhat as the local community leader for Apoh and Tutoh.

Long Atip Sg Apoh is a Kayan longhouse five hours’ four-wheel drive from Miri City.

Speaking at the event, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said rural communities should thank the state government for supporting the appointment of longhouse and community leaders in the state.

He pointed out that because of rural-urban migration, many young Kayans lived far away from their longhouses and were ignorant about their customs.

Dennis urged the community to continue practising their ‘adet‘ (customs).

“I hope that any appointments duly endorsed by the state government will get the all-round support from the community at large and more from the families of the “hipun uma’ (aristocrats).”

“If you, the traditional leading families, do not support the state government endorsed appointments, how can you expect the longhouse dwellers at large to support the appointed leaders?

“After all, local leaders are chosen from among the traditional leading families,” said Dennis.

He was grateful most Kayans acknowledged that the appointments of village chiefs and community leaders must have the consent of the state government.

Sharing his personal experiences, Dennis said the appointment of a longhouse or community leader took time.

He explained that the screening of candidates must involve the local community, Council of Elders led by the paramount chief of any particular community and in the case of the Kayan community, it would be led by Temenggong Elizabeth Deng, the  District Officer and his office and finally the people’s representative from the state’s ruling party of a particular constituency.

The Telang Usan assemblyman urged all longhouse and community leaders to improve their leadership skills and update their knowledge on current happenings in the state and country.

“Local leaders must also work well with their immediate leaders, local government agencies and especially local government representatives,” he added.

Also present at the ‘adet’ ceremony were Deputy State Secretary Datuk Gerawat Gala, Baru Tai Telang Usan District Office, Temenggong Elizabeth Deng, Political Secretary Charles Balan Seling, community leaders and more than 1,000 local Kayans.