Council of ‘Ngepan Iban’ experts mooted to preserve traditional Iban attire

Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu (sixth right) presenting the resolutions reached at the symposium to Uggah (fourth left) while others look on.

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BETONG, Nov 3: The time is ripe for the setting up of a council of experts in “Ngepan Iban” in a bid to protect the authenticity of traditional Iban attire, according to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He observed that in the past, there were people passing adulterated versions of the attire as the real thing.

“We have been horrified too when the “sirat” or loin cloth was presented as part of our women’s wear by models in overseas presentations and functions.

“As far as we are concerned, the “sirat” has never been part of our women’s clothing,” revealed Uggah when officiating at a dinner gathering to mark the closing of the inaugral state-level Ngepan Iban symposium held at Dewan Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan here, yesterday.

Uggah pointed out that the council of experts will be the last word on the items’ authenticity of the genuine.

He also disclosed that a discussion will be held with the Tun Jugah Foundation, Dayak Cultural Foundation and prominent Iban leaders over the formation of this council of experts.

“We need to protect and have copyright control on our “Ngepan” as it is our identity, our pride,” Uggah opined.

He also noted that the Sarawak government recognised the “Ngepan” as well as the traditional attire of all ethnic groups in the state.

“Our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi) Abang Johari Tun Openg wants them to be developed and enhanced for future generations to keep and cherish,” he added.

Meanwhile, Uggah also revealed that he would raise up with Abang Johari the matter of providing spaces to display Iban antiques and heirlooms at Fort Lily(Betong), Fort Alice (Simanggang), Fort Emma (Kanowit) and Fort Sylvia (Kapit).

“The idea is to present them to the new generation to get them to know their culture best.” — DayakDaily