Dayaks’ heirloom shotgun can only be passed down from parents to children, says deputy minister

'Senapang patah' (shotgun). Photo courtest: RH Selepong Brangan

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 10: The Dayaks’ culture of owning ‘senapang patah’ (shotgun) as an heirloom to be passed down for generations will remain to be restricted to direct inheritance from parents to their children only.

Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department (Bumiputera Law and Customs) Datuk Jefferson Jamit Ijang said the Sarawak government is always concerned about the issue of shotgun ownership among individuals so that the safety of the community is guaranteed and preserved.


“In line with the needs and local culture, the current policy of the Sarawak government has allowed the shotgun to be inherited on the condition that it has been re-registered and the applicant must pass a safety and health screening.

“For now, the Sarawak government only allows shotguns to be inherited from parents to sons or daughters only,” he said when answering a question from Baleh assemblyman Nicholas Kudi Jantai in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) sitting here today.

The use of shotguns for hunting and protecting farms has long been embedded in the culture and lifestyle for generations among the Dayak communities in Sarawak.

Earlier, Nicholas pointed out that shotguns are heirlooms for the Dayaks, and their heirs are family members who take care of the family’s ‘bilik utama’ (main room) in the longhouse.

Thus, he asked the deputy minister whether the shotgun could be passed on to other relatives in the event that the guardian of the main room had no children or legal heirs.

On the statistics, Jamit said the total number of shotgun owners in Sarawak is 45,568. In the Kapit Division alone, there are 5,626 shotgun owners. — DayakDaily