Ibans hurt over ‘Keling’, ‘Kumang’ on toilet doors

screenshot-www.freemalaysiatoday.com 2015-12-03 09-13-10

SIBU: The good intention of Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) to showcase local culture at its Sibu Airport operation has backfired.

The use of the words “Keling” and “Kumang” to replace the “Gents” and “Ladies” on signboards on the toilet door at the departure hall of the Sibu Airport is not only inappropriate but also hurt the feelings of the Iban community.

Pictures of the signboards have gone viral on social media since yesterday, arousing the anger of various quarters, including the Sarawak Dayak Youth Organisation (Pebedas), Sibu branch which has lodged a police report at the Sibu Jaya police station at 1pm today.

Its chairman, Mathew Moilan, said Keling and Kumang were a couple from Heaven, namely Panggau Libau and Gelong, besides being among the seven major gods worshipped by the Ibans.He expressed sadness that the names of these two revered figures, which the Ibans regarded as holy had become signboards on a toilet door.

Miri Dayak Association president Serawa Budol said Keling was a brave and wise warrior while Kumang was not only beautiful but had many skills that were being emulated by Iban women until today.She said Sibu MAB should be aware of the matter and if it wished to promote the Iban language, it was sufficient to use the words “Lelaki” and “Indu”.

Following the matter, Sibu MAB manager Zainuddin Abu Nasir openly apologised to the Iban community in the state.“We in MAB wish to apologise for this mistake and do not have any intention to hurt the feelings of the Iban community because, prior to this, we thought the words can be used to depict men and women,” he told a media conference at the Sibu District Police headquarters here.

He said Sibu MAB regreted the incident and pledged not to repeat it at any of MAB’s airports in the country while its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur had also issued a statement on the matter.– BERNAMA