Sabahan Welfare and Social Group launched
28 month ago, 01-Aug-2018
The Swaggers having a group photo with Darell Leiking.
PUTRAJAYA: The Sabahan Welfare and Social Group (SWAG) was officially launched by Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking during a dinner event in celebration of Kaamatan and the society’s first anniversary at Palm Garden Hotel, Putrajaya on July 28.
Over 200 Sabahans residing in Putrajaya, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were present to witness and celebrate the momentous occasion.
Darell who is the Penampang member of parliament and patron of SWAG, applauded the strong cooperation and close fellowship among the members, and as ambassadors of Sabah, he urged everyone to show positive qualities to their West Malaysian friends and colleagues.
“ us bring out the best Sabahans in Peninsular Malaysia and ensure Sabahans are not left out this time around. Sabahans always feel that we’ve been sidelined. It’s a story of the past,” he added.
Citing the SWAG president who is a deputy secretary-general in a federal ministry and a couple other Sabahans as examples, Darell firmly believed there were now many inspirational stories of Sabahans succeeding away from home.
“Your story should be told to every other West Malaysian. That we can. Sabahans can do. Sabahans will be able to do.”
The minister, however, cautioned against making demands and advised instead to let one’s merits speak for themselves. “Never ever demand anything because we are Sabahans. But demand something because we have the merits and we deserve it.”
He also encouraged SWAG to find and gather the many Sabahans who have embarked to West Malaysia, and may have become ‘lost’ due to political indifference and past political policies that were serving only the elites.
“Your mission SWAG is to combine as many people as you can, from all over Peninsular (Malaysia), who are Sabahans, and who have connections to Sabahans because once you group them together -United, You Will Never Walk Alone,” emphasised the minister to thunderous applause from attendees who appreciated his clever connection of the two English football giants.
Despite being far away from Sabah, Darell hoped SWAG members would not forget their mother tongue and continue to speak in Bajau, Kadazan, Dusun, Chinese, Iranun Brunei, or any of the other beautiful ethnic languages of Sabah.
“We are so unique and people love us for our uniqueness,” he concluded while code-switching from Kadazan to English to Malay and back to Kadazan again effortlessly throughout his speech.
During the event, members were able to display their culinary skills, singing prowess and traditional dances. Some even walked (and ‘sumazau-ed’) away with lucky draw prizes ranging from the usual hampers to the more exotic fig and grape saplings.
SWAG started as a casual WhatsApp group in 2016 before growing into a full-fledged society and was officially registered with the Registrar of Societies on 6 July 2017. This move was to ensure the legitimacy of SWAG’s programmes and activities while ensuring accountability in its financial management.
The society is led by its president, Toisin Gantor and assisted by Severinus Tukah, who was also the organising chairman for the dinner. With its tagline of ‘OK bah, kitaurang juga ni’ (It’s cool, you’re among friends), you will be sure to feel welcome and at home with SWAG.
For those who wish to find out more about and be part of SWAG, kindly contact the secretary-general Nely Nasir at 013-8887866 or visit www.swag.org.my